Not that we’re home free – the PNC will see to that – but like Loretta Lynn crooned back in the day, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” The CCJ just did what all reasonable and patriotic Guyanese hoped they’d do – cut through all the sophistry of the PNC and its minions and look at how the clear words of our constitution relate to the facts of the case.
First, there was the matter as to whether the CCJ had jurisdiction. In this, the Court was clearly persuaded by PPP’s counsel Mendes. While the PNC was running around all hot and sweaty with ponderous exegeses on the import of Art 177(4) as an ouster or “finality” clause, Mendes conceded the point!! But, like the boy who pointed out the Emperor was stark naked, he showed that the Court of Appeal never had jurisdiction to accept David’s case in the first place. You can’t oust a higher court from reviewing a case when you never had jurisdiction to hear the case, to begin with!!
Point of the matter was that David could’ve only invoked the CoA’s exclusive and final jurisdiction if she satisfied one of two conditions as per Art 177 (4): she’s brought up the qualification of someone ELECTED president…or was depending on the interpretation of the constitution for her relief sought. Thing was, as the CCJ intoned, nobody had been ELECTED President (thanks to the shenanigans of the PNC!!) for their qualifications to be questioned!!
Then, on the “interpretation of the constitution” limb, the CoA attempted to satisfy this by “interpreting” Art 177(2)(b) to announce that the requirement of “more votes cast” to elect a President meant “more valid votes cast”. The CCJ pointed out in so many words that to insert “valid” into the phrase was to “gild the Lilly”. Just wasn’t necessary – as the Constitution had already made it pellucid in so many places. It was just a ploy to provide a fig leaf for Lowenfield to fiddle with his Report. Which he promptly did!!
The PNC, via David, was sneaking in an elections petition through the back door, and insisting that GECOM arrogate the powers of an elections court to judge the bona fides of the elections!! Art 163(b)(1) had already given the High Court “exclusive” jurisdiction if an election was lawfully conducted via an elections petition. The CCJ wasn’t about to violate the Constitution, as even the GECOM Chair had protested transforming the Commission into a court!!
So, the CCJ didn’t have to resort to such legal esoterica as deconstructing closure clauses, as your Eyewitness had suggested.
Occam’s Razor – or the rule of parsimony – is always the way to go!!
…but not to the PNC
But after clearing up the jurisdictional issue for itself (yes) and the CoA (no), the CCJ didn’t just assume matters would revert to the status quo ante. They declared explicitly that Lowenfield’s Report – where he purported to follow the CoA’s “valid votes” stricture and, like Thanos, wipe out 115,000 voters – was “invalid and of no effect”. He was told he’d have to submit the Report he compiled after the Recount, and which included those numbers which had been certified as “valid votes”.
So where does this leave Guyana? Sadly, still in limbo – cause, as your Eyewitness has been saying all along, Granger and his cabal will accept no other result than one that let them remain in power. Most likely, they’ll have Lowenfield resubmit his “cock” numbers on the ground that no one can tell him what to include in his Report.
We know this is all BS…but all the PNC wants is another time-grinding exercise in the courts.
Let’s hope that the ABCE diplomats told Granger, via Cummings this morning, that “Time’s up!!”
…so will the GECOM Chairwoman
As with all “finality or closure clauses”, the CCJ was careful to point out they should be interpreted very narrowly.
And left matters to the Iron Lady to follow the law.