Interim orders granted by High Court to block national recount of ballots remain in place
DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 20, 2020
The interim orders granted by High Court Judge Franklyn Holder, blocking the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from conducting a national recount of votes cast on March 02, 2020, in the General and Regional Elections remains in place.
On Friday, the High Court admitted four interested parties in a judicial review of the decision to recount the ballots.
Private citizen Reaz Hollander application was denied since it was a replication of the one previously filed by the PPP’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.
GECOM’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Neil Boston explained that the court stated that Hollander’s application will not take the matter further since they dealt with the same issues and are represented by the same lawyer.
The parties that joined that case are the PPP, A New and United Guyana (ANUG), the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), and The New Movement (TNM) which filed under one application.
Boston told reporters outside of the High Court that the parties will return on Monday at 1pm to consider the joinder of Moore’s application with Jagdeo’s and Hollander’s which was filed today.
He added that no direction was given as to the timetable for oral submission.
“…because assuming that if the court grants leave that both applications should be heard together, then leave will have to be granted to file an affidavit in defence to Jagdeo and Hollander fix date application and then after that time table is set then the arguments will be joint covering both applications.”
GECOM had indicated its readiness to have a national recount after His Excellency President David Granger and the opposition leader signed an aide-memoir, committing to the process. The recount process was to be overseen by a high-level team from CARICOM.
However, an application to the High Court filed by Ulita Grace Moore sought an interim injunction against the Elections Commission and its officers.
The injunction was sought to restrain GECOM from permitting or authorising “any person or persons to any agreement between the President of Guyana and the Leader of the Opposition and or any agreement between the Guyana Elections Commission and the Caribbean Community or at all, to count or recount any ballots cast by electors at the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application.”
The court then ordered an interim injunction restraining the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield from “setting aside or varying the Declaration of the Returning Officer of the 10 electoral districts with any other documents or declarations until the judicial review is heard.”