Granger awaits advice of AG, Cabinet before dissolving Parliament

first_imgHaving already set March 2, 2020 as the date for the General and Regional Elections, President David Granger said he is awaiting advice from Attorney General Basil Williams and his Cabinet before dissolving Parliament.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo“I have not prorogued the National Assembly, I have not dissolved Parliament and I am awaiting the advice of my Attorney General on a date for the dissolution of Parliament,” the Head of State told reporters on Wednesday.Parliament came out of its annual recess on October 10 and according to Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, no sitting has been fixed.However, President Granger noted that until he makes a decision on the dissolution of Parliament, it will remain in session in the event of any emergency.President David Granger“We naturally have to keep our options open in the event if there’s any emergency, the National Assembly will be convened to deal with that emergency – be it financial or emergency… If it is necessary, I can reconvene Parliament. It has not been dissolved and I will dissolve it only on the advice of my Cabinet,” the President contended.Attorney General Basil WilliamsSince announcing March 2, 2020 as Elections Day weeks ago, and subsequent issuance of the elections proclamations, calls have been mounting for President Granger to now dissolve the 11th Parliament.But Attorney General Basil Williams earlier this month said the coalition is still hopeful that the parliamentary Opposition – People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – will return to the National Assembly to extend its life; otherwise, he foresees a “crisis” situation in Guyana.However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had long thrown cold water on any expectation that his party will return to Parliament. In fact, the Opposition had not attended any parliamentary sitting since January when House Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland, had refused to overturn the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-Confidence Motion as requested by Government and directed them to seek redress in the courts.The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – Guyana’s highest appellate court – has since validated the passage of the Opposition-tabled motion, which it said activated Article 106 of the Constitution. This provides for Cabinet, including the President, to resign and call elections in three months, unless there is a two-thirds majority vote of all sitting members of the National Assembly to extend that timeline.Jagdeo, a former President, had pointed out that an extension of Government’s life is unnecessary a time point since it is not linked to any decisions that should be taken to facilitate the polls.Moreover, the CCJ would have bestowed the coalition administration with a caretaker status, indicating that its main function is to host elections.“[The President] sought to link the date with the return of the parliamentary Opposition to Parliament to extend the life of his Government…Therein are several fallacies. One, there is no link to the extension of his Government, which has been illegal since March 21. He never sought that extension before,” Jagdeo had pointed out.The Opposition Leader further added, “Secondly, the extension is wholly unnecessary for him to discharge the caretaker responsibility that had been accorded to him by the CCJ. Because a caretaker Government is only vested with one responsibility, that is, holding elections and having the authority to do all the things necessary with the holding of elections. By virtue of being caretaker, he can proclaim the date and he can dissolve the Parliament”.According to Jagdeo, Government is looking at the extension as a legal footing for activities which are not authorised under a caretaker administration.“We believe the real reason for all of this [is] they want legal coverage for all the criminal acts of theft and transfers of resources that they have committed because they believe if we extend the life of the Government, there will be no prosecution. There can’t be prosecution,” he signalled.In this regard, he reaffirmed that there is a zero per cent chance of them returning to the National Assembly.“We have no intention of going to Parliament to extend the life of his Government. Absolutely none. No intention whatsoever,” Jagdeo positioned.last_img

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