Lawyers for Christopher Ram and the Guyana Elections Commission on Wednesday said they were prepared to appeal a High Court decision for different reasons, even as Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo claimed a legal victory that Guyanese cannot be removed from the National Register of Registrants and must be allowed to vote.
Ram’s lawyers, Anil Nandlall and Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran were taken aback by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire’s ruling that the court could not set a timeframe within which general elections must be held. Ram had wanted the Court to order the quashing of the house-to-house registration process on the ground that it would collide with September 18 by which he said elections ought to be held after the Caribbean Court of Justice validated last December’s parliamentary approval of the no-confidence motion.
Nandlall said he would be challenging the Chief Justice’s decision in the Guyana Court of Appeal. “Obviously, we will appeal because we do not agree that no timeframe has been fixed….It cannot be open-ended. The CCJ judgement could not have meant that elections would never be held unless Parliament agrees. Suppose Parliament does not agree. There is always a timeframe implied. The constitution must be obeyed at its earliest convenience and in relation to that, respectfully I am not impressed with that aspect of the ruling and that certainly will excite the review of an appellate tribunal,” said Nandlall, a former Attorney General. On whether an appeal could result in a further delay in the holding of elections, he said right now the there was no timeframe.
Chief Justice George-Wiltshire said the court could not set a date because that would usurp the role of the executive. She said the court could not and would not re-fix the date of the passage of the no-confidence motion and that Ram, a political commentator, could not pick when he thought elections should be held.