Guyana Politics: Chief Justice says GECOM’s House-to House Registration is constitutional

Chief Justice Roxane George

The house-to-house registration exercise which has been embarked upon by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in order to compile an Official List of Electors (OLE) for the holding of general and regional elections has been declared legal by Chief Justice Roxane George.

The Chief Justice was asked by Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram to look into the constitutionality of the registration process.  Ram had approached the court, asking for a Conservatory Order halting GECOM from continuing the house-to-house registration exercise which  he argued was in violation of Articles 106 (6) and (7) of the Constitution as well as the judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).     

Furthermore, the Chief Justice rejected the September 18 time-frame for the holding of elections which was advanced by Ram. Relying on the judgment of the CCJ in the No-Confidence Motion appeal, Justice George noted that the regional court refrained from setting a date for polls and said that it was for the role of the President and GECOM.

According to the Chief Justice, the CCJ recognized that the No-Confidence Motion was passed as long ago as December 21, 2018 and that elections were due by March 21 in keeping with the provisions of Article 106 (7). However, since litigation on the validity of the motion had engaged the court, that time-frame elapsed.

Justice George noted that the CCJ held that it was now for the political actors to return to the National Assembly to extend that time-frame. Ram had submitted that the CCJ in its judgment implied that elections are to be held within three months of its ruling which was delivered on June 18.

Essentially, Ram argued that the judgment indicated that the motion was passed on June 18 and elections are to be conducted by September 18.

The Chief Justice, however, ruled that the CCJ did not implicitly order that elections be held within three months of its ruling. In this regard, Justice George said that the court cannot re-fix the date the motion was passed to June 18. Instead, she underscored that she was bound by the ruling of the CCJ.

For the aforementioned reason, she refused to grant another Conservatory Order which Ram was seeking. In that order Ram wanted the court to order GECOM to immediately take all steps and actions necessary and requisite to hold General and Regional Elections on or before September 18 in keeping with Articles 106(6) and 106(7) of the Constitution of Guyana and the judgment of the CCJ.

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Comments

  • Linda  On August 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    She’s absolutely correct. You cannot hold up a Constitution if it’s made irrelevant by a flawed and corrupt voters list. I say it’s time for the PPP to move on from all the roadblocks they’ve been throwing up and focus on the end game..a fair and unbiased election.

  • Henry Horton  On August 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    ‘A fair and unbiased election”!! To be fair to the PPP the history of elections in Guyana has been anything BUT, when the PNC were in power – they have never won a “free and fair” election -true? Their record is despicable – rigging and murder! The above article for some reason omits a significant part of the ruling:

    “that it would be unconstitutional to remove the names of registered persons unless they are disqualified”

    Chris Ram, in particular, has stated that it was this suspicion (of eventual PNC election skulduggery) that worried him (and all others!). The ruling has been accepted by Ram & the PPP, without any Williams/Granger shenanigans!

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