– Chief Justice to hear case at 10:00 am today
Another legal showdown is set to unfold over the final declaration of the March 2, 2020 Regional and General Elections.
Today the High Court is scheduled to hear a case filed to force the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to rely on nothing but the March 13, 2020 declarations for the ten administrative districts to determine a final result of Guyana’s Regional and General Elections.
Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George –Wiltshire is expected to commence the hearing of the Fixed Date Application (FDA) at the Georgetown High Court at 10:00 am today.
The matter follows a ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – Guyana’s Apex Court on the credibility of the elections recount.
Last Wednesday, the CCJ made a pronouncement for GECOM to ensure that its Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, submits a report in accordance with its directive of June 16, 2020 order made by Chairperson, Justice Claudette Singh, for the recount figures to be submitted.
However, an application filed by Attorney-at-law, Mayo Robertson for Misenga Jones, a registered voter is seeking declarations to prevent the CEO from using the recount figures as the basis of the final declaration.
The report on the recount figures shows a victory for the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) over the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).
The GECOM Chair had instructed Lowenfield on more than three occasions to present the Commission with the recount figures. He is yet to comply with the instructions.
In a 40-page application, Jones asks the Court for several declarations to force GECOM to rely on nothing but a report based on the March 13 district declarations as the basis on which a final election declaration is made.
That report with the fraudulent March 13 Region Four declarations made by Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, has been rejected by the GECOM Chair.
Nevertheless, the application which lists the CEO, the Chairperson and the Attorney General as respondents seeks a declaration that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear the merits of the case on the basis of prima facie evidence of non-compliance by the GECOM and the Chairman in that they have not complied with the constitutionally stated process outlined in Article 177(2) (b) of the Constitution towards making the final declarations of the elections.
The applicant wants the Court to make several other declarations to compel GECOM to act based on the provisions made in Article 177(2) (b) of the constitution.
Article 177 (2) (b) of the constitution states: “there are two or more Presidential candidates, if more votes are cast in favour of the list in which a person is designated as Presidential candidate than in favour of any other list, that Presidential candidate shall be deemed to be elected as President and shall be so declared by the Chairman of the Elections Commission acting only in accordance with the advice of the Chief Elections Officer, after such advice has been tendered to the Elections Commission at a duly summoned meeting.”
In this regard, Jones seeks a declaration from the Court that the Chair of GECOM has failed to act in accordance with the advice of the CEO as mandated by Article 177(2) (b) of the Constitution in that she has failed to declare the Presidential candidate deemed to be elected as President in accordance with the advice tended in the report by the CEO dated 11th of July 2020 and a declaration that the respondents in particular, GECOM has no authority to declare any person as President except in accordance with the advice of the CEO tended in his report pursuant to Section 96(1) of the Representation Act.
Further, she has asked the Court to make a declaration that the respondents GECOM, in particular has no authority to declare any person as President except in accordance with the advice of the CEO tended in his report pursuant to Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution.
The applicant seeks a declaration that the report required by the CEO under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act must be based on the votes counted and information furnished by the ten (10) Returning Officers from their respective ten (10) Electoral Districts which were submitted to the Chief Elections Officer on the March 13, 2020.
She also wants declarations that the CEO is not entitled to base his report required by Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act on data generated from the recount purported to be carried out under Order No. 60 of 2020; that the votes counted at the National Recount pursuant to that Order as amended, are invalid for failure to conform with the concept of valid votes described by the CCJ in its Judgment in the Appeal of Ali and Jagdeo v David, et al  10 (AJ) GY; that data generated from the recount purportedly conducted under that said order is generated by an unconstitutional process in that the order requires decisions on validity of ballots that by Article 163(1)(b) are the exclusive province of the High Court; that any challenge to the advice of the CEO furnished in his report to GECOM on July 11, 2020 can be challenged only in accordance with the provisions of Article 163 of the Constitution of Guyana, in an Election Petition Court.
Additionally, Jones is seeking an order from the High Court to restrain any person identified as the Presidential candidate in the list of parties contesting the elections, other than the Presidential candidate in the list which the CEO advised in his report to GECOM on July 11, 2020 from taking the oath of office as President of Guyana.
Jones also wants an order setting aside the decision of the Commission not to accept the advice of the CEO as contained in his report dated July 11, 2020 in addition to an order setting aside the decision of the Commission purporting to invalidate the votes counted and information furnished by the 10 Returning Officers to the Chief Election Officer in accordance with Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act.
Parties involved in the matter are expected to be present for the hearing via zoom today.
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