Executive Member of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), Anil Nandlall, has condemned caretaker Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo for reportedly suggesting that the Court of Appeal’s ruling on Monday makes way for the APNU/AFC coalition to remain in power for a second term.
“Moses Nagamootoo is an utter disgrace to this country and to the legal profession, and I say so boldly without any apology whatsoever,” Nandlall said during a programme last evening on Kaieteur Radio.
Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling yesterday in the case brought by Eslyn David, some Coalition Leaders interpreted the ruling to mean that it was a “victory” for the party and convinced their supporters to believe so too.
But Nandlall, a former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, posited that what the coalition is essentially saying is that it is quite acceptable for the Chief Elections Officer to discard thousands of votes which they claim to be “invalid” based on unsubstantiated allegations.
“He (Nagamootoo) is essentially telling you that Lowenfield can discount 275,000 votes from the people of this country, so that his party and his government can win…Moses Nagamootoo is encouraging political dictatorship,” Nandlall asserted.
Nandlall reminded that at a meeting of June 18, the Guyana Elections Commission made a decision that Commission cannot deal with the issue of credibility of an election.
The Commission’s Chairperson Justice Claudette Singh said the allegations made are a matter for the High Court through and elections petition after the results have been declared and a President is sworn in.
The former Attorney General added that the Commission has already, during the recount process, determined the validity of the votes.
“Valid votes have already been determined by the Commission, and Lowenfield has already been directed to go and total those valid votes and prepare the requisite statutory forms.”
Nandlall explained that “invalid votes” were already discounted and put in separate envelopes during the recount process.
He argued that all Lowenfield has to do now is to “calculate the seats, identify the presidential candidate from the list that has received the most votes and identify that person as the president,” adding, “Lowenfield cannot act independent of the Commission”.
On this basis, Nandlall citied two statutory provisions – Section 18 and Section 19 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act which state that the Chief Elections Officer and the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, “at all material times, must act in accordance with the direction of the Commission”.
“So GECOM clarified what Lowenfield ought to do and he cannot depart from that direction,” he enforced.
Nandlall explained that the decision to move to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was to seek clarity on the law as there was much confusion following the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday.
He said “nowhere on planet earth will a judiciary ever be empowered to defeat the will of the electorate.”
“No judicial body can direct a constitutional body as to how to perform its constitutional functions once that body operates within the law,” Nandlall added.
The former AG maintains that the PPP/C has won the elections convincingly based on the total number of valid votes it secured and will not relent until the APNU/AFC government is removed from power.