AG Nandlall pleased with election petition process
-CJ to rule on April 26
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall SC, says he is satisfied with the Court’s swiftness in handling the election petition. The Attorney General shared this view today, following the hearing of Election Petition No. 88, before Chief Justice (Ag.) Madam Roxane George.
With the Chief Justice’s judgement set for April 26, the Attorney General said he was satisfied with the timeline of the procedures. He said the process was concluded with “admirable speed” as opposed to the election petition filed in 2015 by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) that is yet to be heard.
“You see how radically different this one was heard and determined… Within eight months, within a year, the petition is going to be heard and determined – long before a year – and I think that that is reasonably good speed for a system like ours… I think that the timeframe in which this one was conducted was remarkable.”
Today’s court proceedings focused on oral arguments from several attorneys, including Dominican SC Anthony Astaphan, who is representing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM); Trinidadian, SC Douglas Mendes, representing Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo in his capacity as General Secretary of the PPP/C; Trinidadian SC John Jeremie, who is leading the team of lawyers representing the petitioners; and Mr. Nandlall himself, who is representing the State.
The petitioners, Ms. Claudette Throne and Mr. Heston Bostwick are asking the Court to declare the election results null and void. In further seeking to do so, the petitioners are challenging the national vote recount process, Section 22 of the Elections Laws Act and Order 60 of 2020, which governed the recount.
Mr. Astaphan in his rebuttal said GECOM did not err in the management of the national recount. He asked the CJ to dismiss the matter if no claimed breaches are proven in the High Court.
Mr. Mendes, on the other hand, argued that the formation of Order 60 was lawful, as it is empowered by Section 22 of the election laws. He said if the Court establishes that Section 22 is constitutional, then a substantial section of Ms. Thorne and Mr. Bostwick’s case will collapse.
With no evidence to prove that there were irregularities or illegalities from the results of the national recount, the Attorney General argued that the case was without merit.
“One can’t turn a blind eye to the composition of GECOM. GECOM is made up, at the end of the day, by APNU+AFC and the PPP/C. And these are the parties, along with the Chairman, who sat and decided to do a recount, and draft up rules to regulate the recount and then participated in the recount… [Just] because the recount that does not go your way, you want to break it up and to cry illegality and unlawfulness.”
Election Petition No. 88 is one of two petitions filed by the Coalition following the declaration of the March 2 elections results in August last year. Petition No.99, which challenged the final elections results, was nullified on the grounds of non-compliance of service on the second named respondent, former President Mr. David Granger.