Chief Justice to rule on Jones’ application Monday

DPI, Guyana, Friday, July 17, 2020

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George will hand down her ruling in the Misenga Jones vs GECOM et al matter on Monday, July 20.

The CJ entertained over five hours of oral submissions today in the virtual hearing of the Supreme Court.

Jones, through her attorney John Jeremie, is challenging the move by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to make a declaration of the March 2 General and Regional elections using tabulated votes from an invalidated national vote recount.

Respondents in the Jones’ application include the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, Attorney General Basil Williams, GECOM Chair Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh and the opposition PPP.

The CEO through his lawyer Neil Boston has maintained that he has acted in accordance with the Constitution and therefore his report to the commission will be based accordingly.

He argued that Order 60 or the national recount order used for the national vote recount was unconstitutional as it does not fall within the Constitution or the country’s electoral laws.

He further argued that the valid votes of electors cast for each of the candidates as stated in the Certificates of Recount are inconsistent with those determined by the Presiding Officers on March 2. He has therefore submitted.

Jones’ Application states that there has been non-compliance by the Guyana Elections Commission and the Chairman in that they have not complied with the constitutionally stated process as outlined in Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution regarding the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

The Affidavit says the Chair has failed to act following the advice of the CEO as mandated by Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution, failing to declare the presidential candidate deemed to be elected as president in accordance with the advice tended in the report by the CEO dated the 11 July 2020.

The applicant is also asking the court to make a declaration that GECOM has no authority to declare any person president except in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer as tendered in his report according to Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana.

A Declaration is also being sought that the report required by the Chief Election Officer under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act must be based on the votes counted and information provided by the ten (10) Returning Officers from their respective ten (10) Electoral Districts which were submitted to the Chief Election Officer on the 13 March 2020.

The applicant also wants a declaration that data generated from the recount purportedly conducted under Order No. 60 of 2020 is generated by an unconstitutional process in that the Order requires decisions on the validity of ballots that by Article 163(1)(b) are the exclusive province of the High Court.

Jones is also seeking a declaration that the Chief Election Officer is not subject to the direction of either the Chairman or GECOM in the content of the advice he is required to provide under Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana.

The Commission, Jones said, does not have the constitutional authority to alter the advice contained in the report submitted by the Chief Election Officer in accordance with Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana and Section 96(1) of the Representation of the People Act.

The Chief Justice will hand down her ruling at 16:00 hours.

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