All elements of Recount Order must now be considered- Aubrey Norton
—facts already on the table
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday July 21, 2020
With the most recent ruling of the High Court allowing the numbers of the national vote recount to determine the March 2, 2020 elections, the APNU+ AFC believes that every aspect of the Recount Order governing that process must be considered.
APNU+AFC Executive Aubrey Norton this morning said the courts cannot determine the use of one element of the Recount Order and disregard the other.
The gazetted Order No. 60 of 2020 or National Recount Order details an agreement between His Excellency President David Granger and opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to conduct a recount of all votes cast on March 2.
The four-stage process accommodated the use of observation reports to make note of all incidences of irregularities.
While the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) has been able to confirm massive irregularities affecting over 200,000 votes, GECOM has sidestepped the very Recount Order saying that it cannot invalidate the elections.
Chairperson Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh had directed the CEO to submit his final report using the invalidated numbers.
On Monday, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George ruled in the Misenga Jones vs GECOM et al case that the commission must use the recount numbers to decide the elections. She said any issues should be heard through an elections petition.
Speaking to CCN Tv6 Fazeer Mohammed this morning, Norton said now that the recount has been found to be legitimate by the courts, questions have to be asked.
“How could you look at one element of the Recount and not look at all elements particularly the observation reports?”.
He said the Jones’ appeal will generally be asking this question. The appeal will also show that GECOM has already facilitated a petition through the recount process as the “boxes are opened and an audit is done.”
“This is not a case where you don’t know what is in the box, this is not a case where you don’t know what happened in the process. This is a case where you went into the box, you know what happened and you have an observation report stating that it happened.”
He said the court has the authority to acknowledge that the facts are already out and that there should be some redress and a resolution found.
“It cannot be a case where you are saying we know what is in the box, we know it is illegal but let us use the recount, put your opponents in power and then you go to an elections petition. That does not make any sense because the data for the elections petition is out.”
He pointed out that both Guyana and sister CARICOM country St Vincent and the Grenadines have had election petitions that have taken years to be heard. The current St Vincent government is itself facing a petition, almost five years after its elections.
Asked if he appreciates how the delay could be damaging to Guyana’s economy, Norton said Guyanese will not stand aside and allow an illegitimate government to come to power as it “makes no sense.”
“What we need is a resolution that involves all of us so that at the end of the process we all will feel comfortable as Guyanese that we have a legitimate process that we feel part of. But to tell us to forego our just position that another government will come in by illegal means, I do not believe that it is a rational, useful approach.”
As a sovereign nation, he said Guyana must be able to exercise its sovereignty. If citizens feel aggrieved and feel there was fraud in the elections, then they should be allowed to raise this, he surmised.