Nov 29, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Before anything else, it should be established early on, without equivocation, that the current elections petitions before the courts in Guyana are complete nonsense, as much nonsense in fact as the current cases before several US courts challenging the outcome of that country’s recent elections.
On Friday, the Trump campaign lost its most significant legal fight yet, with a federal appeals court not only rejecting its challenge of an earlier lost case in seeking to get the state of Pennsylvania to disregard millions of votes and this reverse Joe Biden’s win of the state, but taking the time include the sort of verbal whipping of the Trump campaign that Guyanese would not be unfamiliar with given our experience of earlier this year.
Because our memories tend to be short, and because the nonsense shoveled at us was in such Augean proportions that we might have glossed over that particular shovel-full, it bears reminding that a few short months ago, in June of this year, the argument was similarly made. We offer the opening paragraphs of our lead story for June 30:
“Arguing that he resents the threats of sanctions from external actors and commentators, de facto President David Granger says that he expects a declaration of the elections results by this weekend, based on Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield’s latest report showing a Coalition win. Granger in an interview on Benschop Radio last evening claimed that he fully supported the report submitted by Lowenfield, citing that the CEO’s report, took into account the “possibility of the contaminations” of the votes due to “anomalies and irregularities” in the March 2 electoral process.
Following the ruling handed down by the Appellate Court in the Eslyn David et al case that “more votes cast” must mean “more valid votes”, the CEO handed in a report to the Commission, disregarding the directive given by Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chair, Ret’d Justice Claudette Singh to use the figures accumulated at the end of the National Recount. Instead, Lowenfield used alternate figures, taking the win from the Opposition and handing it to the governing Coalition while also dumping 115,844 valid votes.”
Not only was this indecency floated by the GECOM CEO, but it was adopted in multiple cases by the Granger administration, months after it had clearly lost an election.
Indeed, the Federal appeals court judgment could have been referring directly to Guyana when the Court observed on page 19 of its judgment, in the section titled aptly, ‘The balance of equities opposes disenfranchising voters’:
“The Campaign has already litigated and lost most of these issues as garden-variety state-law claims. It now tries to turn them into federal constitutional claims but cannot… Tossing out those ballots could disrupt every down-ballot race as well. There is no allegation of fraud (let alone proof) to justify harming those millions of voters as well as other candidates”
In the case management hearing held last week, the Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire deciding to label an argument presented by Mayo Robertson, attorney for the petitioners, as “untenable”. This in a case management conference, which will be concluded tomorrow, during which the usually unflappable Chief Justice visibly lost her cool faced with Mr. Robertson’s antics, contortions and incompetence.
To be clear, Mayo Robertson is not in the actual employ of any of the citizens whose names the elections petitions have been filed in – his actions are directly in the service of the Granger political machinery, as they were in the several losing cases in which he represented other clients during the five month trauma of Granger administration’s attempt to both rig the elections with the collusion of elements in GECOM and to attempt multiple times to litigate the insane into the realm of sanity, all of which failed.
That is why the most recent move by Respondent Number Two, Granger, in the elections petition cases is particularly interesting. As reported in yesterday’s issue of this paper, the former President, through the former Attorney General, Basil Williams, filed notice to not oppose the election petitions cases. Current Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, believes that this is a convoluted, bizarre and ultimately ineffective strategy to counter his own filing to have the petitions dismissed due to late filings by the petitioners in both cases, errors that he believes to be fatal to their case – it should be noted here that this sort of error should not have been committed by the Granger machinery which is full of lawyers and political actors with extensive experience in election petition cases, so much so that such error would be tantamount to self-sabotage.
Even if it is that Nandlall is wrong and the trial continues, what Granger’s move does, according to Section 27(2) of the Validity of Elections Act, is to effectively constrain him from presenting any evidence in the case. This means that the same man who claimed that his SOPs, that no one has ever seen, showed him winning the elections, will not be presenting those SOPs to the courts. It also means that the same man who made bold but unproven claims of dead and migrated people having voted, going so far as manipulating the state machinery to produce false evidence of immigration records, will not be producing the mountains of evidence of malfeasance that he claims cost him the Presidency after just one term. It is almost as if Granger waited until the very last minute to not only sabotage his own case, but then to pull himself out of a situation in which he would have been compelled to produce ‘evidence’ of his claims of massive fraud in court. Surely, considering that he campaigned on a platform of honesty, integrity and decency, this would be untenable.
The following five sentences of the appeals court judgment against Trump in the US should have particular resonance for David Granger and his continued farce in the courts of this country:
“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
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