Charges against GECOM Chair an abuse of court; DPP should terminate them – Nandlall

Anil Nandlall

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has argued that the private criminal charges filed against Chair GECOM Justice Claudette Singh are tantamount to unparalleled ignorance and an abuse of the court.

During an interview with this publication, Nandlall made it is clear that these charges are below nuisance value and called for the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to immediately, under Article 187 of the Constitution, take over the charges and terminate them forthwith.

According to court documents seen by INews, three sets of private criminal charges were filed against the GECOM Boss.

The first charge was filed by Keith Ondaan of Central Amelia’s Ward, Linden, who alleges that between March 16 and May 18, the GECOM Chair “acted recklessly and unlawfully” when she disregarded the advice of the Legal Officer of GECOM on March 16, and the advice of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Mr. Charles Fung-a-Fat SC on May 17, that a recount of the votes from March 2 Regional and General Elections was unlawful and unconstitutional, the defendant knowingly caused the Gazetting of Recount Order on May 4, and it amendment on May 29, 2020.

The second charge was filed by a Melanie Damishana, East Coast Demerara, resident, Lorraine Joseph, who is claiming that Justice Singh acted unlawfully and recklessly between May 29 and June 23, 2020 when she breached the gazetted Recount Order and the amended Order.

Finally, Onita Walcott of Victoria Village, ECD also alleges that the GECOM Chair acted recklessly and unlawfully between March 14 and June 23, 2020 when she refused to accept the Chief Elections Officer’s report on the March 2, 2020 elections.

Chairperson of GECOM Justice Claudette Singh

Expanding on why the charges filed “an expression of unparalleled ignorance”, Nandlall explained that GECOM is an independent constitutional body that has its own independent legal advisor.

He said the Constitution insulates it from any type of advice, direction or influence of any person or any authority including the government.

“So, the Chairman was under a constitutional duty not to be influenced by Fung-a-Fat who is under the control and supervision of the Attorney General – a member of the Government,” Nandlall reasoned.

Secondly, he said the decision to do a recount was not a decision of the Chairperson but a unanimous decision of the Commission. Nandlall argued that there was no vote taken against that decision therefore it is decision of the Commission, and not the Chair.

In a brief telephone interview with this publication, the GECOM Chair made it clear that she has always acted in accordance with the laws and the constitution of Guyana.

“What I did in everything was in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” Justice Singh stated.