GECOM’s jurisdiction enables it to resolve irregularities, discrepancies – AG

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC., has said the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has the authority to “resolve irregularities, discrepancies and anomalies.”

In a release issued this evening, the AG explained that Jurisdiction is conferred on GECOM by Order No.60 of 2020 which derives its authority from Article 162 (1) (b) and section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No.15 of 2000.

Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams, SC

Order No. 60 became operational with its publication in the Official Gazette on May 4, 2020.

It was noted that the observations reports and other submission have exposed what the APNU+AFC Coalition has deemed a clear attempt at electoral fraud.

The Coalition’s summary of the irregularities has shown close to 8000 instances of fraud affecting 1,222 of the 2,339 total ballot boxes. Together, a total of 257, 173 votes have been affected, the government has calculated.

AG Williams has advised that in light of this evidence contained in the Chief Elections Officer’s (CEO) report, which was presented to the Commission today, the elections body “ought not to request the CEO to submit a report as stated in Section 96 of the Representation of the Peoples Act Cap.1:03 pursuant to paragraph 14 of the that Order.”

He made this recommendation on the basis that the “irregularities, discrepancies and anomalies affected the integrity and credibility of the elections.”

Referring to the case of Chilima anor v Mutharika Constitutional Reference No.1 of 2019, Malawi HC 431, where there were allegations of irregularities and anomalies, the AG said it was maintained that the discrepancies were too widespread, systematic and serious thereby compromising the integrity of the results.

AG Williams pointed to the fact that the five-member Bench obligated the Elections Commission to respond to requests by contesting parties to resolve irregularities, anomalies and discrepancies before declaring the results of the elections.

“The Court held that a failure to do so can amount to bias on the part of the Commission and a gross and unjustifiable dereliction of duty under the Malawian Constitution (similar to article 162(1)(b) of the Guyana Constitution) to conduct impartial elections.”

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