Latest update May 31st, 2023 3:04 PM
May 14, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire on Saturday dismissed an application made by Mikhail ‘Guyanese Critic’ Rodrigues to stop the Guyana Press Association’s (GPA) elections scheduled for noon today at the Theatre Guild.
Rodrigues prayed the Court to halt the elections until his application for membership to the 78-year-old Association is considered. His action was brought by Attorney-at- Law, Samuel Glasgow.
Rodrigues, who is considered a social media commentator, approached the court for an urgent hearing of his Fixed Date Application (FDA), seeking an injunction against the elections if his application is not processed first.
However, in her decision, Justice George-Wiltshire noted that she had gone through the GPA’s constitution and notes that the Association is not a “corporate or any kind of registered entity that has personality that can sue or be sued.”
The Chief Justice upbraided Glasgow for failing to mention anything about the hierarchy of the GPA including President, Nazima Raghubir, and executive members Rawle Toney, Dennis Chabrol, and Svetlana Marshall.
“It is an unincorporated entity. Don’t cherry pick, don’t cherry pick. Read the legislation properly, treat it as a whole. Read it properly,” the Chief Justice cautioned Glasglow while noting that the entire application is misconceived, not just the Notice of Application.
She explained further that the respondents are not amenable to judicial review.
“They are private persons, who happen to be the executive of a private body. None of them is carrying out any administrative function or duty that allows for Judicial Review. None of them!” Chief Justice George-Wiltshire declared.
“I am not going to allow this to go further, the entire Fixed Date Application is struck out. It has been totally misconceived. The Court cannot allow a matter than is misconceived to proceed, for a full hearing,” the Chief Justice added.
The General Members Meeting and Elections of the Guyana Press Association is set to take place on today.
A statement issued recently by the Executive of the GPA said that it unanimously reaffirmed that the names of the 110 members who are eligible to vote for office bearers would be made known on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at the General Members Meeting and Elections, by the Returning Officer, Attorney-at-Law, Ronald Burch-Smith.
The GPA said that this will be done to preserve the confidentiality of a number of members who have requested that their membership remain confidential prior to the elections.
“The entire process was discussed openly and frankly by the Executive and no concerns were raised about the integrity of the process,” the GPA said.
Further, the Association disclosed that its President, “Ms. Nazima Raghubir recused herself from the meeting when the names of the eligible voting members were presented to the Executive by the Secretary of the GPA, Svetlana Abrams.”
The incumbent President Nazima Raghubir is seeking re-election, but is being challenged for the post by Neil Marks, who was Raghubir’s immediate predecessor.
The GPA said that eligible members shall be allowed to vote in accordance with the GPA’s constitution for office-bearers to be elected by secret ballot.
“Every effort has been made to ensure that the elections will be free, fair and transparent. We have invited a number of observers for Sunday’s process,” the GPA said.
Additionally, the GPA said that added to continuous registration, numerous media workers have completed their registration and updated their dues.
“A membership drive was conducted and direct visits to media houses were done as well as options for bank transfers and payment by mobile money.
The GPA’s elections were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions, but registration and renewal were always open throughout that period,” the GPA said.
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