The legality of Charrandas Persaud’s vote on December 21 during the 111th sitting of the National Assembly is being challenged in the Court of Law. Persaud’s dual citizenship is the foundation of the challenge.
On Friday, a court action was filed by Compton Herbert Reid, through Attorney-at-Law and Senior Counsel, Rex Mc Kay’s Chambers. The respondents in the case are Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams SC., Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland and former Member of Parliament (MP), Charrandas Persaud.
According to the Attorney General, “the claim here is restricted to the disqualification of Charrandas at the time that he voted; that he was not qualified to vote as a member of the National Assembly because of his dual citizenship”.
In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister Williams explained that Persaud’s dual citizenship had affected him at the time of nomination for the 2015 General Elections (around April 7, 2015).
“On that date, Nomination Day, he was not qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly of Guyana because he had Canadian citizenship, he was under an acknowledgement and obedience as a citizen of Canada.”
Minister Williams said that based on Article 155 (1) of Guyana’s Constitution, that was a disqualification for Persaud and as a result, it meant that his vote on December 21, in the National Assembly, was “null and void and of no legal effect”.
“The application is seeking a certain declaration from the court given that the Speaker has advised that the matter be dealt with at the level of the court.”
An application was also filed seeking a conservatory order to preserve the status quo ante that the government remain in office until the case is resolved. Minister Williams said that the conservatory order ought to be heard by Monday, January 7.
The other limb of the case that was put before the Speaker is that the majority was not properly obtained for the confidence vote to be carried on December 21. This will also be the subject of an application to the court soon, Attorney General Williams added.
Mc Kay is joined by Senior Counsel Neil Boston, Senior Counsel Stanley Moore and Robert Corbin. (DPI, Guyana)