– Wary of sustained attempts to prolong process
Several small parties have come forward expressing the need for the course of justice to move forward with a swift declaration of the elections results as certified by the national elections recount. While they welcomed the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the recount case, the statements by their various leaders indicate that they are wary of further attempts to prolong the already protracted electoral process.
The ruling of the Caribbean Court found that the Appeal Court ruling of June 22 was invalid as the Court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the recount case in the manner it purported to. Since Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had premised his report which sought to invalidate about 115,000 valid votes, purportedly on the ruling of the Court of Appeal, the Caribbean Court has consequently opted to invalidate the CEO’s report, effectively paving the way for GECOM to move forward with a declaration of the results of the recount. Those results show that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has won the General Election by 15,416 valid votes.
A meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is set for 1:30pm today.
Presidential candidate of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) Lenox Shuman addressed the public in a Facebook live stream last night, following a statement from the party, which thanked the legal team that represented the three parties, which contested the March polls with joined lists. The team included Ralph Ramkarran and Timothy Jonas of A New and United Guyana (ANUG). They represented ANUG, LJP and the third party to the joinder, The New Movement (TNM).
The LJP called on the public to act in a manner that reflects the peaceful nature of Guyanese society, and called on all constitutional and political actors to respect the ruling of the Court. Particularly, the candidate called for a swift conclusion to the process, which reflects the will of the people in a declaration of the results of the recount. He said that he has confidence in the GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh to bring the matter to a lawful close.
The CEO, Shuman said, has to now prepare the report of the results in line with the instructions of the Chair of GECOM. The urgency of this matter, he said, is predicated by strong language from Guyana’s international partners, the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Commonwealth, and the western diplomats representing America, Britain, Canada and the European Union, who have all called for a resolution to the elections which reflects the will of the people.
Particularly, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had notified the public that he has instructed officials in the US State department to hold those accountable who undermine Guyana’s democracy. Shuman said that such penalties would soon reach persons like David Granger and Joseph Harmon.
In light of this, he called on the police and the military to act professionally, and has called on the Guyanese public to inform themselves about the ruling of the Caribbean Court so they would not be misinformed by political actors who would seek to do so.
Jonas, who is ANUG’s Chair, in Facebook posts pointed to aspects of the Caribbean Court’s ruling which he appeared to endorse as they affirmed his view on the process; that the allegations of irregularities made by the coalition are to be dealt with in an elections petition by the High Court, on which Article 163 of the Constitution confers exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate.
Jonas rejected any insinuation that GECOM still needs to determine the allegations made by the Coalition.
In that regard, he raised concerns about President David Granger putting a spin on the CCJ’s judgment, as Granger following the ruling told supporters outside of State House that the Court gave no coercive orders and that GECOM must now decide what to do, drawing attention to the Coalition’s allegations of voter impersonation.
Jonas said categorically that the Chief Elections Officer is not free to give his own determination of valid votes, and pointed to aspects of the Caribbean Court’s ruling which affirmed this view.
Chair of Change Guyana, Nigel Hinds also made a strong call for the will of the people to be respected, and urged the APNU+AFC Coalition not to assume a dictatorial hold over government as it moves forward.
The protraction of the matter, Hinds said in a video message forwarded to Kaieteur News, was purposefully meant to frustrate, delay, deny and waste the time of the Court so as to prolong the disenfranchisement of Guyana’s electorate who voted by majority for the PPP/C.
It is time, Hinds said, for the Chair to exercise her constitutional authority and make a declaration forthwith.
“We have circled the wagon for far too long,” Hinds stated, “GECOM has irredeemably tarnished the institution, and we cannot continue along this path.”
If the coalition is left to its own, Hinds indicated, Change Guyana is not convinced that the CCJ’s ruling alone will result in the Coalition conceding power. Like the others, Hinds called on the international community to be fervent in its pressuring of the Coalition Government to ensure it respects the will of the people.
Aug 10, 2020By Sean Devers Thirteen years older than his 22-year-old opponent, undefeated Guyanese born Lennox ‘2 Sharp’ Allen stepped into the ring for the biggest fight of his 16 years as a professional...
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