Full Court halts national recount case

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Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George, SC

The Full Court today granted a stay of the hearing brought against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to prevent a recount of the March 2, General and Regional Elections pending a ruling into an appeal filed into whether the matter can even be heard by the High Court.

The appeal was filed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, and arguments we’re heard today by Chief Justice Roxanne George.

Jagdeo’s attorney in his application to the court contended that the case brought against the Commission by A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Candidate, Ulita Grace Moore could only be heard by way of an elections petition.

When the matter was first called Attorney Douglas Mendez enquired firstly whether the Full Court would be hearing arguments for the appeal or a stay of the hearing.

The attorneys had filed both actions on Friday last.

According to the Chief Justice arguments could be made for both in the interest of time since the substantive matter was slated for hearing later in the day.

She subsequently granted the stay of the hearing pending a ruling in the appeal tomorrow at 11:00hrs.

Jagdeo’s attorney in petitioning the court to grant the appeal noted that if this was not done then his client’s right to redress in that regard would have been neutered.

One of Moore’s Lawyers, Keith Scotland, sought to contend however that Jagdeo’s participation in the matter caused them to waive any question of jurisdiction.

Scotland pointed out that Jagdeo had not only applied to be joined as a party in the case but also filed an application for discovery.

He contended that by virtue of participation in hearing the jurisdiction would have been invoked.

Mendez in his rebuttal contended however that this could not give the court jurisdiction it did not have.