Oral arguments for Jones vs GECOM case set for Friday

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Chief Justice Roxane George today heard the initial phase of the Fixed Date Application (FDA) filed in the High Court by private citizen Misenga Jones against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the Chairperson of GECOM, CEO Keith Lowenfield and the Attorney General Basil Williams, SC.

The case taken to the High Court is seeking to have the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to declare the results of the March 02, 2020 elections based on the Declarations made by the 10 Returning Officers.

During the case management conference this morning, Justice George announced that oral arguments will be presented on Friday at 2 pm. Written submissions by the applicant are to handed in by 11pm tonight while all respondents have until 10 pm on Thursday, July 16.

The applicant also has until 10 am Friday, July 17, to file a reply if they deem it necessary.

The case was brought by private citizen, Misenga Jones against the Guyana Elections Commission, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice (retd) Claudette Singh, the Chief Election Officer and the Attorney-General, Basil Williams.

Jones’ application states that the Guyana Elections Commission and the Chairman have not complied with the constitutionally stated process as outlined in Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution regarding the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.

She is contending that the Chair has failed to act following the advice of the CEO as mandated by Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution, failing to declare the presidential candidate deemed to be elected as president in accordance with the advice tended in the report by the CEO dated the 11 July 2020.

The applicant is also asking the court to make a declaration that GECOM has no authority to declare any person president except in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer as tendered in his report according to Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution of Guyana.

The Chief Justice in her remarks noted that having read the application she has itemized the matters the court has to consider. These are:

  1. Whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the application
  2. Whether Section 22 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act No. 15, 2000 is constitutional or unconstitutional
  3. Whether Order 60 and by extension the recount results obtained therefrom are valid such as to permit a declaration of the March 2, 2020 results based on the said recount
  4. Whether the declarations of the Returning Officers according to the Representation Of the People’s Act (ROPA) should be set aside or retained
  5. And tangentially whether these issues are res judicata given the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The Chief Justice expressed the hope that she will be able to make a ruling by Sunday, July 19 depending on the submissions that are made.

Jones is being represented by Attorneys at Law, Mayo Robertson, John Jeremy and Roysdale Forde. The CEO is being represented by Senior Counsel Neil Boston.

During this morning’s virtual proceeding this morning, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo was asked to be added to the case along with PPP Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali. They are being represented by Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall and Devindra Kissoon.

Additionally, six small parties namely, The Citizen Initiative (TCI), Change Guyana (CG), A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), The New Movement (TNM) and the United Republican Party (URP).