Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that the APNU+AFC Coalition is deliberately misrepresenting the clear judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the recount case.
“We’re all very clear that this is a falsehood,” he said. “APNU has a way of misinterpreting, deliberately so, every judgment of the Court and anything that comes out in the public domain to suit their narrative.”
“They expect the Court in Guyana to say ‘Yes! You can use that report, although it has fraudulent numbers…”
“This is what they expect the Court to endorse… electoral fraud.”
He made these and other comments during a Facebook live video yesterday, hosted to discuss the elections situation.
The Coalition has thrown its support behind a filing in the High Court by a voter named Misenga Jones. The motion seeks to force the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to use the 10 district declarations as the basis for a final declaration of the results of the March 2 polls.
Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had submitted a report to the Commission, which largely reflected the numbers in those declarations, despite the fact that those declarations have been overtaken and corrected by the CARICOM scrutinized national recount.
Following the CEO’s submission of that report, the Chair made a decision to invalidate those district declarations.
In a statement sent out last night, the Coalition sought to support Jones, claiming that the CCJ’s ruling meant that the recount order was not in keeping with the Constitution of Guyana.
The CCJ in its ruling stated, as pointed out by APNU+AFC, “It is a matter of elementary constitutional law that if ordinary legislation is in tension with the Constitution, then the Court must give precedence to the words of the Constitution and not the other way around. With respect, the notion that Order 60 [the recount order] could either impact the interpretation of the Constitution or create a new election regime at variance with the plain words of the Constitution is constitutionally unacceptable.”
When the Court made this statement, it was said in the context of the ruling of the Appeal Court, which had sought to redefine a valid vote and give the Chief Elections Officer legal cover to unilaterally invalidate 115,844 votes counted and tabulated during the national recount.
In his bid to invalidate those votes, Lowenfield had pointed to “guidance” from the Appeal Court, to say that the recount order, a subsidiary legislation, had laid out a mechanism by which GECOM may determine what a valid vote is, and in so doing, determine the “final credible count”. However, the Caribbean Court held that the Representation of the People Act already stipulate what a valid is, that is a vote that is valid on the face of it, and not rejected or spoilt.
The CCJ did not invalidate the recount order. However, APNU+AFC’s claim is that since the CCJ found the recount order’s determination of the “final credible count” not to be in-keeping with the Constitution, it meant that votes tabulated during the recount cannot be used to declare the results of the General and Regional Elections.
The Coalition has now endorsed the use of the results of the 10 declarations, on the grounds that such a basis would be the constitutional way to go.
The recount found the PPP/C to have gained 233,336 votes against the Coalition’s 217,920 votes. However, Lowenfield’s numbers seek to give the Coalition 236,777 votes against the PPP/C’s 229,330 votes.
Most notable is the fact that among the declarations Lowenfield based his report on, is one made by Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo on March 13, which has widely been accepted as fraudulently doctored to hand a false national victory to the APNU+AFC.
The results of the recount show that Lowenfield’s numbers are incorrect, but the AFC’s Raphael Trotman had said that GECOM cannot direct the CEO on what results he should produce, even if he is wrong.
Jagdeo yesterday condemned the Coalition, and said that it seems as though President David Granger is now endorsing Mingo’s fraudulent numbers.
He continued “You misled the entire CARICOM team when you brought them here… you had no intention of respecting the recount that they certified.”
President Granger had praised the CARICOM team before it produced its report. However, during his most recent interview on a radio programme, the President misrepresented the statements of the CARICOM team to give the impression that the team elevated the irregularities of the election to a point that they could not ascertain that the elections were credible.
However, CARICOM stated that the elections were credible and, even noting the irregularities, held that a declaration on the basis of its results would be “completely acceptable”.
The Opposition Leader said that he hopes the Chair will bring a swift end to the matter, though he noted that she has been lenient.
To Granger, Jagdeo said that he should know not to continue down this path, as the international community is now more resolved to take action against the offenders.
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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