Misenga Jones Appeal to be heard on Saturday
—CEO opts out of hearing
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday July 22, 2020
The substantive arguments in the appeal filed by private citizen Misenga Jones challenging the ruling of the High Court will be heard on Saturday, July 25.
The matter will be heard by Appeal Court Judge President Dawn Gregory along with Justices Priya Seenarine-Beharry and Rishi Persaud.
The three-panel judges held the virtual case management conference today, before setting the 10 am Saturday timeline.
Leading the conference, Justice Gregory said the court is expecting the submissions from appellant by midday on Thursday. Respondents have until 3am on Friday to submit their reply.
The court also expects cross-appeal submissions from the 7th and 8th respondents during that time.
The Appellant has until midday on Friday to submit her response, which will also include the reply on the submission on the cross-appeal.
The Attorney General is entering a cross-appeal and has until 8 am on Thursday to make his submission.
The court was told that Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield will not be participating in the process.
Jones, through her Attorney, Mayo Robertson, is challenging what she said is an erroneous judgement by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George when she dismissed the case filed by Jones on Monday, July 20.
Jones had challenged the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) move to make a declaration of the March 2 elections, using votes tabulated by the national recount process, which she said was ruled unconstitutionally by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on July 8.
Chief Justice George, however, ruled that the recount data should be used to decide the winner of the elections.
In her notice of appeal, Jones laid down over 20 grounds on which she said the High Court erred in its judgement. This included the constitutionality of Section 22 of the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, which she said was res judicata (matter decided).
Jones had argued that Section 22 which was relied on for the crafting of the Order 60 of 2020 or the National Recount Order is unconstitutional, in contravention of Article 170 of the Constitution, as it empowered the commission to craft a law when it remains a non-legislative body.
Jones has also asked the Appellate Court to strike down the ruling of the Chief Justice which said GECOM’s Chair Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh and or the commission did not act outside of their constitutional and statutory powers.
Justice Singh on three occasions directed CEO Keith Lowenfield to submit his report based on the numbers emanating from national recount and in compliance with Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act and Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
The CEO had however expressed concerns that the request was unconstitutional.
Respondents in the case include GECOM, Chair, Justice Singh, and the Attorney General. They also include Shazam Ally of TCI; Abedin Kindy Ali of Change Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo and Irfaan Ali of the PPP/C, Mark France from ANUG, Lenox Shuman of LJP, Daniel Josh Kanhai of TNM and Leader of the United Republican Party Vishnu Bandhu.
Jones’ case is being led by Trinidadian Senior Counsel John Jeremie and include Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, Rondel Keller and instructed by Mayo Robertson.
Attorney General Basil Williams is appearing on his behalf in association with Attorney Maxwell Edwards.