Guyana Elections: Decision on elections credibility case set for today (22 June 2020)

Guyana Appeal Court in Kingston

–  Appeal to CCJ possible

[Jun 22, 2020  Kaieteur News ] —  A ruling is set to be handed down in the case filed over the credibility of Guyana’s Regional and General Elections at 13:30 hours today at the Appeal Court in Kingston.

The case concerns a motion filed to block Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)’S Chief Elections Officer, (CEO) Keith Lowenfield from submitting the recount report to the Chairperson retired Justice Claudette Singh to make way for declaration of a winner of the 2020 elections.   

On Saturday, lawyers engaged in the matter presented their oral arguments on the point of the credibility and jurisdiction of the Appeal Court as it regards the matter. Appellate Judges Dawn Gregory Rishi Persaud and High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds are expected to rule on preliminary issue of Jurisdiction today.

However some lawyers have already indicated their intention to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), if the Court‘s decision is not in their favour.

This is despite legal provisions of Article 177 (4) of the constitution under which the case was filed.

Article 177 (4) says – “The Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to the validity of an election of a President in so far as the question depends upon the qualification of any person for election or the interpretation of this Constitution; and any decision of that Court under this paragraph shall be final.”

However, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall who is also a lawyer on record in the case refutes that this is so.
He noted that though the case invokes Article 177(4) which seemingly gives the Appeal Court exclusive and final powers, there are other legal provisions that would give any dissatisfied party the right to approach the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Nandlall noted those provisions fall under CCJ Act made under Article 223 of the Constitution which was enacted by the Guyana Parliament in 2004.

According to him, the passage of that law authorizes Guyana to join any Caribbean Court of Appeal as its final Court of Appeal.
“What this means is that since 2004 wherever a decision was final at the Court of Appeal, it was now appealable to CCJ. Therefore in this case where it says the decision the Appeal Court shall be final it can be overtaken by the CCJ under the provisions in that enactment,” Nandllal explained.

The motion filed on behalf of Eslyn David seeks to compel the court to make a declaration that GECOM failed to act in accordance with the recount order, in that it “failed to determine a final credible count and or the credibility of the result” of the March 2 polls.

The motion also asks the Court to restrain Lowenfield from obeying Justice Singh’s instruction to submit his report, unless he determines the “final credible count” or the credibility of the elections.

Lawyers arguing in favour of her case have asked the court to conclude that the Appeal Court has exclusive jurisdiction under Articles 177 (4) of the constitution to hear and determine the case.

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Comments

  • Kman  On June 22, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    And the winner is, CERTAINLY NOT THE ORDINARY GUYANESE

  • Kman  On June 22, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    And the winner is; certainly not your average Guyanese citizen.

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