Guyana Politics: CCJ schedules single hearing for recount case next Wednesday

– has not yet ruled on jurisdiction

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has scheduled a single hearing for the Guyana elections recount case.

Noting the urgency and importance of the case to Guyana, the full bench of the CCJ led by the Court’s President Justice Adrian Saunders yesterday, handed down several directives on how the substantive issues of the case will be dealt with during the single hearing scheduled for Wednesday July 1, 2020.

The hearing set to start at 9:00 am on Wednesday concerns a case filed in Guyana’s Appeal Court by Eslyn David against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). David had asked the Appeal Court to rule on a number of issues regarding the credibility of the General and Regional Elections.     

Among other things, the Court of Appeal had ruled that in determining the results of the elections, the country’s Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, must do so based on who received the most “valid” votes. The ruling came after a CARICOM – supervised recount exercise which showed that the PPP/C has over 15,000 votes ahead of the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)

Responding parties in the matter which included the PPP/C held that the Court lacked jurisdiction to even hear the matter and subsequently appealed to the CCJ.
Yesterday, the CCJ handed down directions as to how parties involved in the matter are to submit their arguments in accordance with the timeline of the Court. Notably absent at the case management hearing were the legal representatives of the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and GECOM, who are chief respondents.

The other parties on record include, Attorneys Devindra Kissoon, Sanjeev Datadin, and Anil Nandlall who are led by Trinidad-based Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes, for PPP/C’s Presidential Candidate, Irfaan Ali, and Party General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo , the appellants in the matter.

Trinidad-based attorneys, John Jeremie, SC, Keith Scotland and Rondelle Keller: and Mayo Robertson and Roysdale Forde appeared on David’s behalf.
Attorney Kim Kyte-Thomas is on record for the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice retired Claudette Singh. Meanwhile, Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams, who is also listed as fourth respondent in the document entered an appearance on behalf of himself in association with attorney-at-law Justin Simon QC and Solicitor General Nigel Hawke. Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran and Timothy Jonas appeared on behalf of Mark France of A New and United Guyana, Josh Kanhai of The New Movement, and Lenox Shuman of the Liberty and Justice Party. Kashir Khan appeared in association with Mohamed Khan for Shazaam Ally of The Citizen Initiative and Abedin Kindy Ali of Change Guyana.
Additionally, the Court also granted an order which will allow for Attorney at law, Reggie Armour to appear on behalf of Joseph Harmon, a representative of the A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), and Faiyad Hussain, a representative of the United Republican Party (URP), to be joined as amicus (Friends of the Court) in the proceedings.
The two parties will be allowed to make interventions and file submissions in relation to the matter.
The Court ordered that each party represented will need to file written submission by 4:00PM Monday.
Each submission, Justice Saunders said should be captured in no more than 10 pages. The Judge noted that the management conference was intended to determine the processes to be adopted to have the substantive matter set for Wednesday. As such, it was noted that the CCJ has not yet decided on the issue of jurisdiction.
President Saunders told the opposing legal teams that on Wednesday each side will be allowed between 30-40 minutes each to present their oral argument.
The CCJ President also noted the order which was issued to prevent any further action by GECOM until the hearing and determination of the matter is still in force.
The CCJ order will help maintain the status quo until further orders are granted pursuant to the holding of a full hearing of all matters in dispute.
Representatives of the PPP/C in their appeal to CCJ noted the Appeal Court erred and failed in determining the application by David.
The document outlined the Court erred and failed by holding that it had jurisdiction to hear and determine the Notice of Motion under Article 177(4) of the Constitution, despite the absence of rules effectuating the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction to determine questions as to the validity of an election of a President, as is required by Article 177(5) of the Constitution.
The Party contends inter alia that the Appeal Court erred in finding that it had jurisdiction to hear and consider the Notice of Motion even though a President had not yet been elected and the issue of the validity thereof had accordingly not yet arisen.
According to the PPP/C, the Appeal Court wrongfully assumed jurisdiction under Article 177(4) since resolution of the questions raised by David did not depend upon the qualifications of the President or the interpretation of the Constitution as outlined by Article 177(4).

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Kman  On June 26, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Where did David get the funds to hire these attorneys? This is not a citizen seeking to understand a few English words. This is a set up by the APNU to steal a valid election. The lawyers working on behalf of Ms David should be ashamed to call themselves lawyers. They should be investigated by the authorities. Follow the money and you will encounter the truth.

    I am not a member nor supporter of any Guyanese political party.

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 28, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    This is shocking blatant interference in a most critical issue before the CCJ (per Stabroek News, Jun 26)

    Excerpt:
    Attorney Anil Nandlall today rapped Grenadian Queen’s Counsel, Dr Francis Alexis for remarks attributed to him in today’s Guyana Chronicle that a PPP appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice over a Guyana Court of Appeal ruling has no “real prospect of success”.

    So who is Francis Alexis? Nadalall explains:

    “Importantly, he currently holds the position of DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE REGIONAL JUDICIAL AND LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION. The Chairman of this body is ex officio the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Justice Adrian Saunders.

    THE STATED MISSION OF THE REGIONAL JUDICIAL AND LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION IS TO APPOINT JUDGES OF THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE.

    “One of these e conventions is that lawyers who sit on bodies that appoint Judges [viz., Francis Alexis] should not appear before those Judges. A LOGICAL COROLLARY OF THIS PRINCIPLE IS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT MAKE ANY PUBLIC STATEMENT, ADOPT ANY POSTURE OR COMMIT ANY ACTS WHICH MAY BE VIEWED AS INFLUENCING, OR INTENDING TO INFLUENCE, LITIGATION PENDING BEFORE JUDGES WHOM THEY HAVE APPOINTED OR HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO APPOINT. This convention is GROUNDED DEEPLY IN THE DOCTRINE OF NATURAL JUSTICE and forms part of that network of PRINCIPLES THAT PROTECTS AND ENSURES JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AND FUNDAMENTAL JUSTICE.
    “Alexis,] exposing himself to the obvious accusation that he is attempting to prejudice the outcome of the proceedings. An ordinary citizen who violates the sub judice doctrine is likely to be hauled before the courts for contempt. DR. ALEXIS IS NOT AN ORDINARY CITIZEN, IN THIS REGARD.

    In addition to what Nadalall says, it is common convention, even a legal code of conduct, that that a member of the court, or someone who appoints judges should not comment on cases before the court.
    Bluntly put, Alexis should have shut his trap. He is clearly attempting to influence the CCJ judgement. Hope he gets on the sanctions list.
    VNM

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 28, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Here is the article re Alexis’ interference.

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/06/28/news/guyana/nandlall-criticizes-alexis-over-report-saying-ppp-appeal-likely-to-fail/

    VNM

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On June 28, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Here is the article re Alexis’ interference

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/06/28/news/guyana/nandlall-criticizes-alexis-over-report-saying-ppp-appeal-likely-to-fail/

    VNM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s