CCJ can only determine whether it has jurisdiction after submissions are received -AG

—Court cannot undo the actions of the CEO

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, June 25, 2020

Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General, Basil Williams SC., has reiterated that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has not yet decided whether it has jurisdiction to hear the appeal matter filed by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

In an invited comment, the Attorney General explained that “if a submission is made suggesting it has no jurisdiction, the court will still have to have the matter before it to make the assessment as to whether it [CCJ] has jurisdiction or not.”

The PPP/C has engaged the CCJ asking it to set aside the Appellate Court’s ruling which directed the Guyana Elections Commission to interpret the phrase “valid votes cast” in Article 177 (2) (b) to mean “more valid votes cast,” during the verification of the results of March 2, elections.

During the case management conference on Thursday, it was emphasised that the CCJ has not yet decided if it has jurisdiction to hear the matter and that such a determination can only be made after submissions have been received.

Parties have been given until Tuesday, June 30, to submit their written submissions on the special leave application.

The Attorney General also expressed confidence noting that the CCJ during the case management conference maintained that “it could not undo the actions of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO)” following the Appellate Court’s ruling.

This followed an attempt by PPP Attorney Douglas Mendes, to have the CCJ retract the CEO’s final report already submitted to GECOM.

“Chief Justice Saunders and Justice Anderson said that in so far as the CEO had acted before the orders of the CCJ came out, they cannot address it,” the AG pointed out.

Therefore, the Attorney General explained that “the status quo has to remain in terms of any movement forward from the actions of the CEO.”

AG Williams also commended the Former Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. John Jeremie, SC. for his call for persons to refrain from making damaging statements.

He acknowledged the statements made over the past few days have been “prejudicial and intended to impact the decision of the court.”

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has set July 1 for the hearing of the appeal filed by the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) against the ruling of the Guyana’s Court of Appeal.

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