GECOM says will not make elections declaration until new court proceeding ends

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Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George will on Friday, July 17, hear oral arguments by the various parties in the case filed by APNU/AFC supporter, Misegna Jones, who seeking to block the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from declaring the results of the March 2 elections.

During a virtual cases management hearing this morning, the Chief Justice outlined the schedule for Friday’s session.

Prior to this, however, she received a number of applications from several other parties that contested the March 2 elections to join in the proceedings.

These include the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Change Guyana (CG), and The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), A New and United Guyana (APNU), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), The New Movement (TNM) and the United Republican Party (URP).

The Chief Justice detailed the timelines by which all the parties in the matter will have to file their written submissions, which will take them into Friday – hours before the scheduled marathon hearing of arguments.

Additionally, an undertaken was given by Attorney-at-Law Kim Kyte-Thomas on behalf of the GECOM Chair, (retired) Justice Claudette Singh, that the Commission will not make any declaration or decisions during the course of the proceedings.

Justice George indicated that she is hoping to deliver a decision by Sunday but this would be dependent on Friday’s proceedings.

The Misegna Jones application was filed in the High Court on Tuesday by Attorney Mayo Robertson, who had also represented Eslyn David, another coalition supporter who also tried to block the elections declaration. That case went all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and was eventually thrown out.

Among other things, Jones is now seeking a declaration that the Elections Commission does not have the constitutional authority to direct Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

This is despite the clear provisions of Section 18 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No 15 of 2000. Section 18 states that: “the Chief Election Officer and the Commissioner of Registration shall notwithstanding anything in any written law be subject to the direction and control of the Commission.”

The coalition supporter is also seeking a declaration that the GECOM Chair failed to act on the advice of the CEO.