The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has accepted jurisdiction in the case filed by the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic’s Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali and General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo.
Ali and Jagdeo are challenging a ruling of Guyana’s Court of Appeal in the case filed by APNU/AFC supporter Eslyn David.
The Appeal Court, last month, assumed jurisdiction and ruled that “more votes cast” in the Guyana Constitution means “more valid votes cast”.
However, the PPP/C challenged the decision at the Trinidad-based Regional Court contending that the Appeal Court’s pronouncements have “plunged the law in total confusion and it is now no longer clear how an election of members of the National Assembly is to be challenged and how the election of the President can be challenged.”
CCJ’s President Justice Adrian Saunders said that the CCJ has jurisdiction since the Court of Appeal issued a judgment outside of Article 177 (4). Justice Saunders noted that the Appeal Court essentially embarked on an exercise to interpret Order 60 of 2020 and not Article 177 (4) of the Constitution.
On June 22, the Court of Appeal, in a 2:1, judgment had ruled that the Constitutional phrase “more votes are cast” can be interpreted as “more valid votes are cast”. This essentially inserted the word “valid” in Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution.
The ‘flawed’ interpretation was presented by Appeal Court Judge, Justice Dawn Gregory and High Court Judge, Justice Brassington Reynolds while Appeal Court Judge, Justice Rishi Persaud had found that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Furthermore, the CCJ invalidated the recent report submitted by Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, in which he had dumped over 115,000 votes.
The TT-based court also ruled that Lowenfield should now follow the directive from GECOM’s Chair Justice Claudette Singh, i.e. for him to compile a final elections report based on the recount results.
Additionally, the CCJ asserted that the concerns raised by the APNU/AFC have to be addressed in an elections petition filed in Guyana’s High Court.