People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Executive, Anil Nandlall, last evening said that there is no legal pathway for the annulment of the March 2, General and Regional Elections by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), before a declaration is made. In fact, Nandlall, who is an attorney-at-law, stated that only the High Court holds the power to exercise such.
During an engagement with the press outside of the Arthur Chung Conference Center (ACCC), he specifically stated that, “An election can only be annulled by the Court. GECOM is the institution holding the elections; GECOM can’t convert itself into a judge and jury and judge itself. You have a problem with how GECOM acted, you have to go to the Court and the Court annuls it. There is no provision in the law at all for GECOM to deal with disputes,” Nandlall said to the press last evening.
General Secretary of the PPP/C, Bharrat Jagdeo, had initially opined that the governing coalition is attempting to get GECOM to annul the March 2 Elections, as the Coalition had begun to raise many objections during the Recount.
Why would APNU+AFC want the elections annulled? Jagdeo believes it is because the coalition knows it lost the elections, and that it does not want the actual results to be considered and accepted by GECOM as official.
It maybe puzzling to some that APNU+AFC would want to have the elections annulled, since the party has maintained that it won the elections.
But Jagdeo maintained that the Coalition lost the Elections, and that Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, was part of a Coalition-sponsored attempt to rig the elections to make APNU+AFC the victor.
Nandlall said that Mingo’s manipulation of those results is the only fraud that occurred. This manipulation was verified by Kaieteur News and illustrated to have occurred for 24 boxes thus far.
Notably, the Coalition has thus far been making unsubstantiated claims of rigging by the PPP/C. But Commissioner Vincent Alexander had said that if the claims of fraud are proven and the proven claims are so many, that they overtake the margin of victory, then GECOM would have to consider this in its decision-making.
GECOM writes Immigration over Coalition’s claims of ‘foreign voters’
Meanwhile, Chair of the GECOM, Justice (ret’d) Claudette Singh has written to the Chief Immigration Officer, seeking to verify the allegations of foreign voters, as being put forward by the APNU+AFC. This is according to Commissioner Vincent Alexander during an engagement, too, with the press last evening outside of the national recount Centre at Liliendaal.
Nandlall, speaking on behalf of the PPP/C, has expressed disagreement with GECOM taking this line of action, or any other which would seek to determine whether fraud occurred on Election Day.
The lawyer pointed to the Constitution of Guyana, specifically Article 163, which explicitly stipulates that “… 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.”
On Sunday last, Nandlall had stated that “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,” Nandlall expressed.
He went on to say that if GECOM goes out of the scope of that recount then the commission would be exceeding its jurisdiction, and encroaching on that of the Court.
Following the commencement of the national recount exercise, which was initiated some 24 days ago, the APNU+AFC coalition claims to have knowledge of thousands of dead and foreign Guyanese who voted for the March 2, General and Regional Elections. Kaieteur News had recently reported that the coalition has no intention of proving a majority of its claims of election irregularities, specifically with those voters who were out of the jurisdiction on E-Day.
Executive of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton, had indicated that the party expects GECOM to investigate to determine whether the claims are factual, hence GECOM’s decision to write to the immigration chief.
According to Alexander, the Chief Immigration Officer has the obligation to provide the information that is requested by Justice (ret’d) Singh.
GECOM not in breach of constitution – Commissioner
Furthermore, questions were raised with Alexander regarding whether GECOM may be in breach of its powers by probing the election regularities, as posited by Nandlall.
“That is not the considered opinion of GECOM,” Alexander said in response, while noting that, “GECOM is operating under this considered opinion, and those who may have a different opinion have an equal right to have that opinion determined in the right place.”
Alexander is of the firm view that GECOM is not in breach of the Constitution with regards to its powers.
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