PPP wants GECOM to defy its own order- AG

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams SC said the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is on a mission to cause the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to turn its back on its own National Recount Order, a move he noted that is out of order.

The gazetted recount order, which governs the conduct of the national recount of all the votes cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections, has outlined four stages to the process.

The physical recount and tabulation have been completed and the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) is currently engaged in the second phase of compiling the report. Following the submission of the report, the commission will have to deliberate on the content, before deciding on a credible declaration.

The AG today said despite this and even before the completion of the first stage, leaders of the PPPC were seen publicly and prematurely claiming to have won the elections, clearly oblivious of the remaining stages of the process. They also seemed unconcerned that the CARICOM Scrutinising Team also has to submit their report directly to the Commission at stage three (3) of the process.

According to the Attorney General, the opposition leader was a signatory to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) initiative. PPPC aligned Commissioner Sase Gunraj had also “boasted” that he drafted the very order which now governs the recount.

“Any reasonable person could conclude that all these political actors knew the purpose of the Order that was gazetted by GECOM to pursue the total recount of the votes cast at the March 2nd, 2020 General and Regional Elections (GRE),” the AG outlined in a release today.

He said from the outset the PPPC sought to undermine this CARICOM initiative.

The AG recalled that fourteen (14) days before the arrival of the CARICOM team, the PPP contended that the elections process inclusive of the recount process had to end by the April 30th, 2020 to coincide with the constitutional requirement of a dissolved Parliament being convened not later than four (4) months after its dissolution.

This was a falsehood since the PPPC themselves got the Courts to accept that this requirement was not mandatory and one could exceed the limit, he noted.

The opposition has contended too that GECOM cannot resolve the discrepancies and anomalies which marred the balloting despite the order stating it could.

The PPP was also pushing the narrative that the process as only to deal with the recount of ballots and not the credibility of the March 2, 2020 election, despite the order stating that both the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and the Commission have to assess the discrepancies revealed in the Observation Report Forms.

Further, the AG said the PPP has been claiming that GECOM could not consider the death certificates laid over as proof of persons voted for deceased persons, because it was an offence for a member of the public to possess a death certificate of a deceased person.

“All of these abominations when any lawyer worth his salt would know that as a constitutional Commission the decision-making processes of GECOM would be quasi-judicial.

Moreover, Order No. 60 of 2020, made under Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution and Section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2000, is subsidiary legislation having being published in the Official Gazette and therefore a law of the land binding on GECOM and all political parties who contested the said GRE,” AG Williams stated.

The PPPC, he said, “keeps trying to influence the Chairwoman and Commissioners to resile from their obligations under the Order.”

The Attorney General said it is incumbent on GECOM to stay the course and be true to its order and not be encouraged to turn its back on its own order.

Note: resile – to abandon a position or a course of action.

 

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