Navy insists asylum boats cannot breach border

Earlier on Thursday Australian authorities claimed that a boat with some 200 asylum seekers on board capsized near Christmas Island closer to Indonesia and that the boat had originated from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan navy on Friday insisted that security along the maritime boundary of the island nation remains tight and there is no possibility of any asylum boat heading to Australia directly from Sri Lanka undetected.Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Xinhua that despite the end of a 30-year war with the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago and the relaxing of several restrictions on fishing in some areas, the navy still remains on guard. Australian Home Minister Jason Clare on Friday told reporters that according to information he had received, those on board the vessel were mostly Afghan nationals.Sri Lanka and Australia have an agreement on combating human smuggling after hundreds of Sri Lankans had reached Australia by boat over the past several years seeking asylum.The Sri Lankan police last month arrested 113 people while they were attempting to go to Australia by boat illegally, and earlier this month the Sri Lankan navy arrested 53 illegal asylum seekers who were also heading to Australia. (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry on Friday said that based on preliminary reports there were no Sri Lankans on board the ship which capsized the previous day.The Sri Lankan embassy in Indonesia also said that there were no Sri Lankans among the 110 survivors who were rescued from the vessel. “There is no chance of that happening. We maintain tight security along our maritime boundary so no boat can slip through,” Warnakulasuriya said. read more

IAC urges Govt to respect Constitution call date for elections

The valid passage of the NCM also automatically triggered Article 106 (7) of the Constitution which states: “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three (3) months, or such period as the National Assembly shall by resolution, supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly. The IAC also recognizes that constitutional three-month timeframe for the holding of elections after the NCM, elapsed as of March 21, 2019, a period during which the Coalition Government’s approached the courts.The IAC, in light of the decisions and consequential orders of the CCJ, is of the firm opinion that the government, in a caretaker capacity, has failed to act within the confines as directed to have the elections held by September 18, 2019; three-month timeline following the June 2019 ruling that quashed the Appeal court’s decision.With no constitutional two-thirds majority Parliamentary approval to extend that deadline, with the elections appearing nowhere closer to be held and with Parliament yet to be dissolved on or before September 18, 2019, the legitimacy of the APNU/AFC coalition government after that date, therefore becomes questionable and its continuance in office deemed unconstitutional.The IAC remains firm that if the APNU/AFC caretaker government continues to disregard the constitution thereby bringing our country into disrepute, it will join with other civil society organizations to bring attention internationally in the defense of our hard-fought democracy.The IAC is not unmindful of APNU/AFC coalition caretaker government’s abdication of its responsibility of setting an election date to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), whose Secretariat proposed a timeline of March 2020; a year and three months after the passage of the NCM and a year after the constitutional period expired.The IAC therefore urges the APNU/AFC coalition government that, in the interest of democracy, to discontinue its disregard for constitutional provisions and to announce a date for these overdue elections. It also urges GECOM to begin preparations for the holding of free and fair elections which must be held within the shortest possible time.The IAC is also mindful of the effects the prevailing uncertainty and how it continues to impact Guyana and Guyanese. Given our country’s troubled history of past elections, any prolonging of the announcement of an election date, more especially when the government is deemed unconstitutional, is not in the best interest of this country and its people.The IAC remains hopeful that our hard-won democracy will be safeguarded, the constitution adhered to, and the current situation be resolved expeditiously.The IAC also calls upon all Guyanese citizen, political parties, the religious bodies, NGOs, trade unions, civil society and the independent media to raise their voices in the call for the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to be respected in the context of peace, harmony, justice, and national unity. That the valid passing NCM automatically triggered Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana which states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence.” The Indian Action Committee (IAC) today (Tuesday), urged the APNU/AFC coalition government that, in the interest of democracy, to discontinue its “disregard for constitutional provisions” and to announce a date for the long overdue General and Regional Elections following the passage of the No-confidence motion on December 21, 2018.The IAC in a press release, moments ago, stated that, in light of the decisions and consequential orders of the CCJ, it is of the firm opinion that the government, in a caretaker capacity, has failed to act within the confines as directed to have the elections held by September 18, 2019; three-month timeline following the June 2019 ruling that quashed the Appeal court’s decision on the no-confidence vote.“With no constitutional two-thirds majority Parliamentary approval to extend that deadline, with the elections appearing nowhere closer to be held and with Parliament yet to be dissolved on or before September 18, 2019, the legitimacy of the APNU/AFC coalition government after that date, therefore becomes questionable and its continuance in office deemed unconstitutional”, the statement added.The IAC said it remains hopeful that “our hard-won democracy will be safeguarded, the constitution adhered to, and the current situation be resolved expeditiously”.Following is the full statement by the IAC The Indian Action Committee (IAC) remains cognizant of the following: –The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s highest arbitrary court, in June 2019, upheld the validity of the December 21, 2018, No-Confidence Motion (NCM), thus reversing the split decision of the Appeal Court. 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