CJ to deliver ruling on coalition’s elections challenge on Monday

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Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George has set Monday, July 20 at 16:00hrs to deliver her ruling in the case filed by APNU/AFC supporter Misenga Jones who is seeking to block the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from making an elections declaration based on the recount results.

She made the announcement following a four-hour long hearing today, where lawyers representing various parties in the case made lengthy oral submissions.

GECOM Chair Justice Claudette Singh, through her lawyer Kim Kyte-Thomas, argued that while Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution dictates that she should be “acting only in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer” to declare the results of an election, the CEO has to follow the directions of the Commission.

Kyte-Thomas also submitted that High Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter and that it should be dismissed forthwith.

Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who is representing the PPP/C General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo and Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali, argued that the High Court must allow GECOM to manage the protracted electoral process to a finality.

Mendes also argued that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case filed seeking to block GECOM from using the results from the national recount to made a declaration of the March 2 elections.

He says such matters should be dealt with via an elections petition.

The Misenga Jones application was filed in the High Court on Tuesday by Attorney Mayo Robertson, who had also represented Eslyn David, another coalition supporter who also tried to block the declaration of the elections. That case went all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and was eventually thrown out.

Among other things, Jones is now seeking a declaration that the Elections Commission does not have the constitutional authority to direct Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

This is despite the clear provisions of Section 18 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No 15 of 2000. Section 18 states that: “the Chief Election Officer and the Commissioner of Registration shall notwithstanding anything in any written law be subject to the direction and control of the Commission.”

The coalition supporter is also seeking a declaration that the GECOM Chair failed to act on the advice of the CEO.