CJ prevents attempts to dictate GECOMs work
—says matter is waste of court’s time
By Nateshia Isaacs and Shaquille Bourne
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, March 14, 2020
Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George on Saturday dismissed the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)’s attempt to disrupt the Guyana Elections Commission from performing its constitutional mandate, calling the matter ‘a waste of the court’s time.’
After Friday evening’s declaration of Regional Elections results for District 4 by Returning Officer (RO) Clairmont Mingo which showed the APNU+AFC in the lead for both the Regional and General elections, the PPP/C moved to file an official request for a recount.
Heard at the Diamond/Grove Magistrate’s Court, PPP’s lawyer, Anil Nandalall sought to impose upon GECOM, an injunction based upon an agreement made between His Excellency President David Granger, Leader of the Opposition Baharat Jagdeo and CARICOM, which would see the Regional body observing recounts by the commission.
APNU+AFC’s GECOM commissioners sought to clarify the matter this afternoon .
Commissioner Vincent Alexander explained that while the court hearing was set for 1pm, the PPP/Cs affidavit was not served until 2pm. Making matters worse, the PPP/C failed to serve all the respondents and in this particular matter the RO for District 4, Clairmont Mingo.
Further, he noted, without any proper notice, GECOM Chairman (ret’d) Justice Claudette Singh was summoned to court to respond to a then-unknown matter which was later revealed to be the above-mentioned case.
Alexander clarified the position of the APNU+AFC commissioners that the procedure to apply for a recount of ballots is clearly outlined in the Representation of the Peoples Act, and “if there is intent for any such thing to occur, they have to appeal to GECOM to discuss the matter.”
Therefore, he noted the PPP/Cs move is grossly flawed.
Furthermore, Alexander noted that to impose such an agreement on the commission is baseless since no political party or extra-judicial body should make decisions for the commission.
Commissioner Charles Corbin further clarified that any decision with respect to the election is determined within GECOM. He stated, “If there is an agreement outside of GECOM, wherever that agreement is made if it is to conform to our legislation and constitution then the body that will have to pronounce on it would be GECOM.”
The commission was set to meet at 2 pm to discuss pertinent matters but the PPP/Cs delay tactic through the courts prevented such.
Earlier today, the APNU+AFC signalled its willingness to have CARICOM observe a general recount of ballots of all electoral districts, in the interest of transparency and to uphold the integrity of the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.