May 25, 2020 News
Former House Speaker and Presidential Candidate of A New And United Guyana (ANUG), Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran does not believe that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) can revert to the 10 declarations being held in abeyance to declare the winners of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
“It is not possible for GECOM to order a recount under the election laws amendment act and at the end of the process, to abandon a declaration of that recount and then return to the count and make a declaration based on the report that has been made to GECOM by the Chief Elections Officer in relation to his invitation to make a declaration,” Ramkarran told the press during yesterday.
Since the commencement of the recount, the APNU+AFC Coalition have raised allegations that the elections are deeply flawed because of dead and migrated people having voted, leading many to question whether GECOM would use the final numbers from the recount to declare a winner.
Ramkarran reasoned that based on those allegations made, should GECOM not use the final numbers from the recount and revert to the previous one, it would be equally “untenable” for the 10 declarations to be used.
“If GECOM were to take the position that these elections, under the recount process, that these allegations have made it untenable for a declaration to be issued,” Ramkarran said, “then that declaration would be equally untenable under the count because the same votes being counted in this recount are the same votes which were made under the count that the Presiding Officer counted.”
“So if you can’t make a declaration under the recount, then you can’t make a declaration under the count.”
Such a situation where no declaration is made, according to the ANUG Presidential Candidate would leave Guyana in a “Constitutional dead end.”
Ramkarran said “Now the Guyana Constitution does not provide for a situation where no declaration is made after an election. The Constitutional process is elections, results, swearing in a President, convening of parliament or rather appointment of Prime Minister and Ministers, and the convening of parliament.”
“If they are no results declared then that process cannot move forward, but there is no process to go backward either. Parliament is already dissolved and cannot be recalled so we are in what I call a Constitutional dead end or a Constitutional no man’s land.”
Citing the objections being made by the Coalition at the recount, Ramkarran believes that the Commission should not have been accepting any ‘evidence’ to support the claims.
“They have started and allowed these objections to be made and it is probably too late for the Commission to say look, we are not going to take any more objections but they should not have accepted these objections from the beginning.”
According to him, “They should have said, take your objections, make your objections and take them to the elections petition court.”
“The Commission can’t, was not constructed to accommodate a trial, an investigatory process, to determine whether those allegations were true or not. Quite apart from that, the law requires that these matters be raised at an elections petition.”
Ramkarran also met with GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh and conducted a tour of the recount site and expressed hope that two additional workstations be established which would see the pace of the recount increasing.
“If that happens and we hope it does, the madam Chair in her efforts, to get that to happen, we can see a speeding up of the count and a closing off of this process in another week or two.”
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