The Chief Justice ruled that the no confidence motion was lawfully passed on December 21st in the National Assembly by a 33-32 vote, and that the vote of Charrandass Persaud was lawful, notwithstanding that as a dual citizen he was unlawfully occupying his seat in the National Assembly. Consequent upon those findings, the Chief Justice ruled that the Cabinet automatically resigned on the passing of the no-confidence motion. The Chief Justice granted neither a stay of execution nor a conservatory order which would have preserved the status quo ante. Yet the Government announced that the status quo remained and Government business will be conducted as usual.
This statement, disrespectful and defiant of the Chief Justice’s ruling, presumably means that the Cabinet will continue to meet and function and take decisions affecting the governance of Guyana, even though it is unlawful to do so. In effect, the Government’s functions must be limited to the implementation of existing decisions as no new ones can be made by the non-existent Cabinet. The statement also means that those Members of the National Assembly who hold dual citizenship will continue to occupy their seats even though the effect of the Chief Justice’s ruling in relation to Charrandass Persaud’s means that their membership is unlawful. Such bold, brazen and open defiance of lawful authority, of the Constitution, and of the rule of law by a Government has never been seen in Guyana after the Burnham era, or in the Commonwealth Caribbean, or in any democratic country for that matter.
The decisions of the Chief Justice have material consequences. The functions of the Government are necessarily limited because the Cabinet does not exist and no decisions can be made. Only decisions already made can be implemented by Ministers and Ministries. If the President of Guyana does not recognise caretaker status for the Government because such a status is not provided for in the Constitution, it needs to recognise that its functions are limited as a result of the decisions of the Chief Justice. If the Government defies this consequence of the Chief Justice’s decision, it will be flaunting its disrespect for the judiciary and the Constitution…..