National recount on hold pending judicial hearing on Friday
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 17, 2020
High Court Judge Franklyn Holder this afternoon granted an injunction against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) preventing it from carrying out a national recount of votes from the March 2 polls, pending a hearing on Friday, March 20.
GECOM had indicated its readiness to have the recount commenced at 5 pm today after His Excellency President David Granger and opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo signed an aide-memoir, committing to the process.
The recount process was to be overseen by a high-level team from CARICOM which was dispatched here on Sunday following a request by President Granger.
However, an application to the High Court filed by Ulita Grace Moore sought an interim injunction against the Elections Commission and its officers.
The interim 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 Election 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 Guyana Elections Officer from “setting aside or varying the Declaration of the Returning Officer of the ten (10) electoral Districts and from substituting or replacing the said Declaration of the Returning Officer of the ten (10) electoral districts with any other documents or declarations until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application filed herein”
An interim injunction was then granted restraining the Chief Elections Officer from submitting any Report of the total votes cast for each List of Candidates pursuant to Section 96 (1) and (2) of the Representation of the People Act save and except the votes counted and the information furnished by the Returning Officer under Section 84 (1) of the representation of the People Act until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application filed herein”
GECOM’s attorney Excellence Dazzel had advised the Chairman of the Commission today that the President and Leader of the Opposition though their intentions were honourable, could not enter into an agreement that ran counter to the laws that govern the Representation of the Peoples Act.
She also advised against a total new recount of all regions.
Earlier, GECOM had reported that it was seeking legal advice on the way forward before deciding on the commencement of a national recount.