20th September 2019

The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Guyana condemns the continued failure by the Government of Guyana to hold General and Regional Elections within the period mandated by Article 106(7) of the constitution, which is the supreme law.

The Bar Council notes that, in its judgment in the consolidated no confidence cases of 12 July 2019, the Caribbean Court of Justice said that the meaning of the constitutional provisions requiring elections is clear and it placed the responsibility of honouring those provisions on the constitutional actors in Guyana.

The Bar Council also notes that while the Court did not order elections, it expressed its expectation that constitutional responsibilities would have been exercised with integrity in keeping with the unambiguous provisions of the Constitution bearing in mind that the no confidence motion was validly passed as long ago as 21 December 2018.

The constitutional duty and responsibility of the President was to fix a date for elections within the three-month period set out in the Constitution in the absence of a Parliamentary extension of that period, which extension the Bar Council notes was not sought and or obtained before the period expired.

The constitutional duty and responsibility of the Guyana Elections Commission was to be ready to administer and supervise elections within the time encompassed by the three-month period so as to comply with the Constitution.

By failing to abide by the clear and unambiguous terms of the Constitution, the Government of Guyana has abdicated its responsibility, violated the Constitution, is operating outside of the rule of law and in breach of internationally recognised standards of democracy.