Court refuses application for GECOM to produce SoPs

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Justice Franklyn Holder

The application made to High Court Judge Franklyn Holder for the court to order the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to produce the Statements of Poll (SOPs) used to tabulate the controversial results for District Four has been refused.

The decision was handed down by Justice Holder on Friday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Justice Holder also ruled that he has jurisdiction to hear the case challenging the national recount of votes cast in the March 2 General and Regional Elections.

However, lawyers for the PPP have applied for leave to appeal Justice Holder’s decision that he has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Guyana continues to be in gridlock regarding the results of the March 2 polls. Caretaker President David Granger had signed a Caricom Initiative after he and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had agreed for the regional body to supervise a national recount of the votes. However, in the twist of events, one of Granger’s own candidates, Ulita Moore, moved to the High Court, and was granted an injunction by Justice Holder, blocking the recount.

Following this, a further action was brought by PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, seeking to have Lowenfield present the Statements of Poll used to tabulate the results for District Four.

The international community, PPP an all the other parties had lablelled the results as highly flawed.

One of Jagdeo’s lawyers, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, had said that compelling Lowenfield to produce his SOPs is the only way to resolve the confusion caused by RO Mingo’s declaration. Nandlall had said that with the party’s SOPs having one set of numbers, which differ from Mingo’s numbers, only GECOM’s SOPs can be trusted.

Attorneys for Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had objected to the application by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, to have his client tender as evidence the entity’s SoPs for Region Four and questioned the court’s jurisdiction to accommodate the request.