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.

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