People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) nominated Commissioners within the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) have reasons to believe that Roysdale Forde, the lawyer of the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Commission, Keith Lowenfield, filed a Notice to Appeal to former Chief Justice Ian Chang’s ruling on the Elections Petition without Lowenfield’s permission.
Following the General and Regional Elections in 2015, PPP/C Executive Member Ganga Persaud filed an elections petition in the High Court, challenging the results declared by GECOM.
After serving 23 consecutive years in Government, the PPP/C refused to accept defeat to the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition and thus filed the petition.
GECOM’s CEO subsequently filed a summons to strike out the petition on the grounds that sections of the petition failed to disclose reasonable cause of action.
Then, less than two weeks before he retired, then Chief Justice Chang returned to the bench and overruled the summons to strike out the petition, paving the way for the elections petition to go to trial.
Chang stated that there is sufficient grounds for the petition to go to trial. He also stated that in accordance with Article 163 of the Constitution, the court has no jurisdiction to strike out the petition. On that basis he said the matter should go to trial.
Forde then filed the Notice to Appeal, contending that the ruling should be wholly reversed or set aside.
However, during a news conference on Wednesday, Commissioner Bibi Shaddick disclosed that the lawyer may have acted without any direction from the CEO, in accordance to protocol.
“… on inquiry about any more fees paid to the lawyer, the CEO responded that no other fees have been paid. It is our belief that the lawyer filed the appeal on his own volition and not on the instructions of the CEO,” Shaddick stated.
She explained that the Commission has to approve any and all expenditure and therefore, if the CEO posited that no further monies were paid, then it is likely that the lawyer acted on his own desire.
Shaddick, who is also an Attorney noted however that the suspicion is yet to be confirmed. (Guyana Times)