Court of Appeal to rule Monday June 22 in challenge to GECOM declaration

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Cameras were at the ready yesterday outside of the Court of Appeal for the outcome of the hearing on the application filed to prevent the Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield from submitting a report to enable a final declaration from the March 2 polls. (Photo by Orlando Charles)

The Guyana Court of Appeal is to rule on Monday at 1.30 pm in the case brought by Eslyn David against GECOM and the Chief Election Officer seeking to stop the declaration of the results of the March 2nd general elections.             

The announcement was made this afternoon by President of the Court panel,  Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory after several hours of arguments by lawyers.               

Justice Gregory’s announcement came just at the end of a sharp exchange between Kim Kyte-Thomas, counsel for GECOM Chair Claudette Singh and one of the respondents, Attorney General Basil Williams and also saw an interjection by Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes who is appearing for the PPP/C in the matter.

Kyte-Thomas, who was formerly at the Attorney General’s Chambers, had made the point that judges in the recent cases brought by Reeaz Holladar and Ulita Moore had identified election credibility issues as matters which would have to be determined by an election petition. That point was made to affirm the argument on behalf of the GECOM Chair that the matters raised by David in the extant case were issues for an election petition.

Williams intervened and declared that the Holladar and Moore cases were not about credibility prompting Mendes to ask the court not to entertain Williams further since he had already had his say.

Mendes had begun his presentation by taking a dig at Williams for getting “hot under the collar” about wanting to ensure a free and fair elections while ignoring the reported fraud by District Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo but adopting the mere allegations of irregularities made by the Chief Election Officer.

David, through her attorney, Mayo Robertson, has asked the appellate court to declare that GECOM has failed to determine a final credible count and or the credibility of the result of the elections and on this ground is seeking several orders.

She wants the court to grant an order restraining the CEO from complying with the Chairperson’s direction and prohibiting GECOM from determining the final credible count and or the credibility of the elections. She also wants the court to grant orders restraining the CEO from submitting the elections report to GECOM, which she is contending contains votes which are not credible.

She has mounted the challenge via a provision in Article 177 (4) of the Constitution which says that that court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to the validity of an election of a President in so far as that question depends upon the qualification of any person for election or the interpretation of the Constitution.

David’s case is not seen as having any merit and has been rebuffed by counsel for the GECOM Chair, the PPP/C and other political parties.

It is seen as a last-gasp effort by APNU+AFC to prevent the declaration of the PPP/C as the winner of the March 2nd general elections.

GECOM chair urges dismissal of case seeking to stop declaration

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Underlining the supremacy of the Constitution, GECOM Chair Claudette Singh yesterday urged the dismissal of a case before the Guyana Court of Appeal seeking to stop the declaration of results for the March 2nd general elections.

The hearing of the case – seen as a last ditch attempt to prevent the declaration of the PPP/C as the winner – is set for 11 am today.  The PPP/C and other opposition parties were yesterday joined to the matter after they applied for this at a case management hearing.

In her affidavit drawn up by attorney Kim Kyte-Thomas in the case of Eslyn David vs the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Singh argued that an incomplete election cannot be vitiated and an unelected president cannot be disqualified.

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