BY MICHAEL YOUNGE
The Opposition Peoples Progressive Party/Civic has expressed concern over the slothfulness with which its elections petition cases are being dealt with by the Courts in Guyana because of “deliberate and premeditated” actions aimed at stalling as well as frustrating the process.
Opposition Parliamentarian, Attorney at Law Anil Nandlall protested the constant delays and certain strange developments that are taking place with respect to the cases as he compared it with what obtained in the elections petition case brought by the Trinidad opposition party following their poll last year.
A date has already been set for that country’s elections petition case to be heard after all challenges were dealt with expeditiously by the courts there given the seriousness of the case and its impact on the standing of their elections commission.
“The cases could have been heard with greater dispatch. We should have been already in the middle of our petition by now. If you compare that with the tied local authority cases and you look at the approach of the Attorney General one will see some kind of consistency as he is deliberately stalling and delaying”, Nandlall reported.
He advised that the AG Chambers has several lawyers while opining that he does “not know that Mr Williams is spectacularly talented and that these cases cannot be done without him. In fact, when you look at the submissions made to the court and all of the affidavits that are being drawn, none are drawn or prepared by him”.
The Attorney at Law also pointed to the decision by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to appeal the dismissal of GECOM’s original challenge to the petition describing it as “strange” given the role outlined in the Constitution that the Commission must play.
“GECOM and its CEO are in the position of an umpire or referee…they are not a contestant…their role is to facilitate the hearing of the petition to ensure that documents that are required… are produced as they are custodians of those documents and to assist the court in every respect because it is their machinery that conducted the elections”, he remarked.
Nandlall argued that “They have taken a completely unorthodox position in which they have descended into the arena and have become a combatant and that is quite unfortunate. It shows a lack of understanding of the role of GECOM”.
The PPP Parliamentarian reminded the public that “nobody tried to dismiss the elections petition of 1997 brought by the then Peoples National Congress.
“Here you have an attempt to dismiss the petition without it being heard”, he said during the interview with INews.
Nandlall said that the PPP is maintaining that the 2015 petition should have already been dealt expeditiously because it questions the composition of a country’s parliament and the very electoral machinery by which a Government may have been elected.