Disturbances sprang from misconception about ruling -- Chief Justice

Stabroek News
January 13, 1998

Chief Justice Desiree Bernard does not believe her ruling discharging the application for writs of certiorari and prohibition was directly responsible for the disturbance in the city yesterday.

The Chief Justice told Stabroek News in a telephone interview last night that she felt the disturbances sprang from a misconception that her ruling dealt with the validity of the December 15 elections.

The ruling, she explained, dealt with the question of the competence of the court to hear the case and she had concluded that Article 177(6) of the 1980 Constitution precluded any enquiry into the election of the president once an instrument had been executed under the hand of the chairman of the Elections Commission. The validity of the elections, she said, could be challenged by an election petition, as she had noted in her ruling.

Aubrey Norton, the general secretary of the People's National Congress (PNC) who had applied for the writs, told a public meeting yesterday that the PNC intended to challenge the validity of the elections by an election petition.