Former Attorney General and executive of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), Anil Nandlall, believes that it is out of the jurisdiction of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to examine and probe the election irregularities that have been raised during the recount exercise by the incumbent A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).
During an engagement with the press outside of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) late last evening, he referenced an article published by another media house where it was stated that GECOM Chair, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh, invited submissions of evidence from the Coalition which would be aimed to supporting their claims of dead and migrant voters.
Nandlall argued: “The Chairperson, by inviting evidence, is not only lending credence to those allegations, but the Chairperson is now expanding the scope of this recounting exercise far outside its parameters and that is wrong; it is unlawful.”
He said that if GECOM goes out of the scope of that recount then the commission would be exceeding its jurisdiction.
“They would be violating the very order GECOM published and took to be governed by to conduct the recount,” he added.
Nandlall insisted that there is no provision in the Gazetted order to provide for the proving or disproving of the Coalition’s allegations.
He referenced the Constitution of Guyana, specifically Article 163, where it explicitly stipulates the role of the High Court and the Elections Commission.
Article 162 stipulates that “the Elections Commission shall have such functions connected with or relating to the registration of electors or the conduct of elections as are conferred upon it by or under this Constitution or, subject thereto, any Act of Parliament…”.
According to Article 163 (1)(a)(i) , “… the High Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine any question… either generally or in any particular place, an election has been lawfully conducted or the result thereof has been, or may have been, affected by any unlawful act of omission.”
Since the recount commenced some 19 days ago, the APNU+AFC has raised hundreds of objections including about migrant and dead Guyanese who voted on March 2 for the General and Regional Elections.
The Coalition also claimed that they are in possession of “countless” death certificates, and has solid documentation of thousands of Guyanese who were out of the jurisdiction, but still managed to vote on E-Day.
Despite these numerous claims, APNU+AFC have been reluctant to submit proof, even to the media, so that independent verification can be conducted, and whereas specific instances have been put into the public domain, this newspaper has been able to fact check them.
Examples range from a couple, the Coalition claimed was out of the jurisdiction, as well as a ballot box that was claimed to be containing errors- when in fact it had not been opened as yet, as well as to the claim that someone had voted in place of a dead woman. All proved to be untrue.
Notably, the GECOM Chair just some three days ago emphatically stated that “He who asserts must prove”- she was referring to the irregularities raised primarily by the Coalition.
Singh noted that the Commission, with no current decision on the issue at hand, is still in discussion on the allegations made in the observation reports and that when such a decision is made, there would be an official communication of same to the political parties, media and other stakeholders.
The APNU+AFC Coalition, on Friday, embarked on a campaign against the credibility of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, with tabulations of all of the irregularities it claims have been unearthed during the National Recount, with the clearest case so far being made so far by PNCR Executive, Aubrey Norton, while addressing the media on Friday.
“Now, what this is illustrating,” Norton said, “is that the process teems with irregularities. From the inception, I said it cannot be considered to be anomalies anymore. This is a clear case of electoral fraud and rigging.”
Norton statement represents the most explicit argument against the credibility of an election that observers have labeled as free and fair.
The Coalition had been ready to swear in incumbent President David Granger on the very elections.
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