Oct 25, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield will no longer be represented by his personal attorney in the upcoming elections petition case as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) voted on a motion for him to be assigned a lawyer handpicked by the Commission.
That motion was put forward on Tuesday at the last statutory meeting by Government Commissioner, Manoj Narayan and passed after the GECOM Chair voted in favour with the motion.
Explaining this route, Narayan cited Section (4) (2) of the National Assembly Validity of Elections Act which deals with elections petitions.
That provision specifically states “…if the petition complains of any act or omission on the part of the Commission, or any member thereof, as is mentioned on Article 162 (1)(b) of the Constitution, the Chief Elections Officer shall, for the purposes of this Act be deemed to be a respondent.”
In essence, the Commissioner’s contention is that since Lowenfield is representing GECOM’s interest in the petition, it is only fair that the entire Commission has a hand in the legal counsel meant to represent them.
“So on that basis,” he said, “I did move a motion for the Commission to appoint the legal representative, a lawyer to represent its interest during the hearing of the petitions through the statutory office of the CEO as provided in the Act, because prior to that, Mr. Lowenfield did not even inform the Commission as to which lawyer was appointed and what were their instructions and so on.”
According to Nayaran, it seemed as if that Commission was being left out of the process “which is of course not the way it is supposed to be.”
While the motion was passed, no legal counsel has been appointed as yet. Nayaran explained that the Opposition side of the house requested time to select their pick and at the next statutory meeting, a final decision will be made.
“I suggested a name, I suggested a Mr. Anthony Astaphan, Senior Counsel from Dominica, he is one of the leading lawyers when it comes to elections petition in the Caribbean but the other Commissioners wanted an opportunity to also suggest names so the Commission agreed that at our next meeting, the decision will be taken as to which counsel will be appointed,” he added.
Kaieteur News made contact with Commissioner Vincent Alexander who confirmed same and stated that they are in the process of scouting candidates for the position.
The motion however, did not sit well with Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Aubrey Norton, who is of the strong view that Lowenfield should be allowed to choose his own attorney.
Norton at a recent media engagement said that the motion was made in “total contravention of the law.”
“That is like charging Caesar to be tried by Caesar,” Norton told the press, adding that, “If they are allowed to give the CEO one of those PPP attorneys, then they will do everything to ensure that the petition fails. We believe that the CEO must have his own attorney and this thing should go by law.”
Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire is expected to conduct a full trial of the two election petitions filed by the main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC); however, this is expected after she hears arguments on preliminary issues raised in the matter on November 24, 2020.
Dec 04, 2020Kaieteur News – Windiescricket – Romario Shepherd hit a superb century which was the highlight as West Indies “A” made a magnificent comeback against New Zealand “A” on the first...
Dec 04, 2020
Dec 04, 2020
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 03, 2020
Dec 02, 2020
Kaieteur News – On December 2, there appeared a letter in the Stabroek News seeking an explanation as to why 26 Haitians... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Human rights and constitutional violations in Haiti have been ignored for too... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]