A statement by Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), issued on March 12, 2020 by the Public Relations Officer Yolanda Ward presented incontrovertible evidence that there is a grand conspiracy to violate the Orders of the Honourable Chief Justice granted on the 11th day of March 2020 and the relevant provisions of the Representation of the People Act, Cap 1:03.
This was according to Former Attorney General Anil Nandall in a missive to the press on Thursday.
The terms of the Order are by now well known. The relevant portions read:
- (i) An injunction restraining the Returning Officer District 4 from in any manner whatsoever, declaring the votes recorded for each List of Candidates for District 4 before complying with or ensuring the compliance with the process set out in Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 Laws of Guyana;
- (ii) An injunction restraining the Guyana Elections Commission from declaring the total number of valid votes cast for each political party until the Returning Officer or Deputy Returning Officer for District 4 complies and ensures compliance with S. 84 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03;
- (iii) An order directing that the Returning Officer or Deputy Returning Officer for District 4 are to commence compliance with S. 84(1) of the Representation of the People Act. Chapter 1:03 at no later
Section 84 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, Cap 1:03, provides:
“…the returning officer shall, in the presence of such of the persons entitled under Section 86(1) to be present as attend, ascertain the total votes cast in favour of each list in the district by adding up the votes recorded in favour of the list in accordance with the Statements of Poll…”
It is already public knowledge that the Returning Officer attempted to use a pre-prepared spreadsheet, instead of the Statements of Poll, as the basis for the ascertaining and adding up of the votes cast in the presence of the Political Parties representatives. Even if such a spreadsheet is permissible, the Political Parties must be able to witness its preparation, so as to ensure that the information contained thereon were extracted from the Statements of Poll in the possession of the Political Parties.
This was not done.
Every lawyer knows that it is the Order of Court, which is binding on the parties and not the written Judgement of the Court, since the written Judgement constitutes only the reasons for the Orders and can contain statements, which are obiter dicta and that are not binding pronouncements. It is for this precise reason that the Learned Chief Justice made the Order of Court available, shortly after Her Honour delivered her written Judgement. These are trite and axiomatic principles of law, which must be known to the Chairperson of GECOM, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of Guyana of over 30 years standing.
Reference in the said Press Release, therefore, that the Chairperson is awaiting a copy of the written Judgement of the Learned Chief Justice is either inaccurate, or renders the Chairperson complicit in a conspiratorial design to subvert the Orders of the Honourable Chief Justice and to violate the provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
GECOM is enjoined by Article 162 (1) (B) of the Constitution of Guyana to always act with impartiality, fairness and in compliance with the provisions of this Constitution or any Act of Parliament.
The Commission, led by the Chairperson, seems to be making a mockery of this constitutional prescription.
Again, I demand compliance with the Orders of the Honourable Chief Justice and the Representation of the People Act.