Any challenge to election result must be through elections petition – Trotman in 2015

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“If you want to challenge the results of an elections, the process is; under the validity of elections law, you file an elections petition; and you can bring the discrepancies you feel, and the standard is that what you have alerted or brought to the court as evidence, is sufficient to materially change the results”.

This view was expressed by then Co-Campaign Manager of the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition, Raphael Trotman, in 2015 in response to questions from the media about the concerns raised by the then governing Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) about certain aspects of the elections at the time.

The APNU/AFC Coalition in 2015 had won the elections by a razor thin majority – just over 4000 votes – which saw it gaining 33 seats, while the PPP/C got 32 seats in the 65-Member Parliament.

Hours after the results were announced, in its quest to hurriedly take the reigns of power, the Coalition had dismissed all concerns raised about the electoral process and was adamant that such matters could only be addressed in the High Court by way of an elections petition.

“We encourage the PPP/C; if they feel aggrieved to use the legal channels…we encourage them to use the same avenues and arrangement available as per the law,” Trotman, with Joseph Harmon sitting by his side, had said then.

Now that the recount has confirmed that PPP/C has convincingly won the 2020 General and Regional Elections, with in excess of 15,000 votes more than the APNU/AFC, leading Coalition officials, including Trotman and Harmon themselves, are peddling a false narrative of voter fraud on Elections Day, and are involved in a relentless effort to have the elections nullified even before the results are OFFICIALLY declared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

Among the many unsubstantiated claims being made by the Coalition include, votes were cast in the names of dead and migrated persons. However, all of the allegations have proven to be false.

Legal experts have argued that, if the Coalition is serious about pursuing its case of voter fraud, it should approach the Courts to seek redress, but the results based on the national recount should be declared first.

On Monday, the CARICOM Observer Team presented its official report to the Chairperson GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh.

The CARICOM team found that the recount exercise was credible and the results reflected the will of the people.

“The national recount process, despite some of its administrative failings, despite some of its minor flaws, is not an indictment of the 2020 polls, and the Team categorically rejects the concerted public efforts to discredit the 2020 polls up to the disastrous Region 4 tabulation,” the Team noted in its report submitted to GECOM.

“Despite our concerns, nothing that we witnessed, warrants a challenge to the inescapable conclusion that the recount results are acceptable and should constitute the basis of the declaration of the results, of the March 02, 2020 elections. Any aggrieved political party has been afforded the right to seek redress before the courts in an elections petition,” the Team posited.