May 31, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George Wiltshire has dismissed the case filed by Chief Elections Scrutineer, Carol Joseph to block to the current voters’ list from being used during the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).
In her ruling, Justice George Wiltshire outlined that many unsubstantiated statements were provided to the court during the hearings. The Chief Justice (CJ) said the submissions made by the applicant were not enough to challenge the voters’ list published by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). “It does appear that by relying on unsubstantiated and inadmissible evidence, the applicant is inviting this court by a side-wind to impugn the OLE (Original List of Electors) that was utilised for the 2020 National and Regional Elections. The invitation is unequivocally rejected,” the CJ stated.
The CJ also disagreed with the Chief Scrutineer that the use of a section of the electoral law would result in the compilation and use of a list of electors that was not resident or ordinarily resident in Local Authority Areas and constituencies therein or because it deprives the electorate from making claims and objections for the local government elections.
She continued: “The document has unsubstantiated jottings on it that speak to persons being deceased or not living in the area. This is inadmissible evidence that cannot be relied on by the court. Even if the evidence was admissible, its content was unreliable as there is no evidence of the source of the information mentioned in the jottings.”
“Litigants must appreciate that courts rely on evidence, not unsubstantiated opinions or conjecture,” the CJ added.
The Chief Justice also said that based on the submissions; there was no breach of the Constitution when the voters’ list was compiled by the elections body. She noted too that the court could not determine whether the electoral body failed to provide a credible list for the upcoming elections on June 12. In dismissing the case, the Court said Ms. Joseph has to pay $250,000 in costs by June 30, 2023.
Joseph had filed a lawsuit against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the Chief Election Officer and the Attorney General, seeking over fourteen declarations and four orders intended to nullify the preliminary list of electors and give rise to a new register of voters, before Local Government Elections (LGE) are held.
The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) party has long expressed major concerns over the Voters’ List on the basis that it is bloated with dead people and thousands of Guyanese that have migrated. Joseph had asked the High Court inter alia, to declare that the Elections Commission acted unlawfully when it opted not to compile the Preliminary List of Voters for the Local Elections in accordance with the Local Authorities (Elections) Act as amended by Act No. 15 of 2015.
GECOM is required to act in accordance with Section 11 of the Local Authorities (Election) Act in compiling the Preliminary List of Voters, and further that it is legally required to prepare a Register of Voters for use at Elections for Local Authority Areas in accordance with Sections 12, 13, 14, 20, 22 and 23.
Joseph said failure to comply with the legislation would render the Register of Voters for Local Government Elections (LGE) null, void and of no legal effect. She had asked the Court to declare that the Constitutional duty of the Elections Commission, as provided for in Article 162 of the Constitution to compile a Register of Voters imposes a duty to compile a reasonably accurate and credible Register of Voters.
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
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