Guyana Elections: Court of Appeal decision thrown out by CCJ – UPDATED

  • Lowenfield’s report cutting over 115,000 votes also of no effect
Justice Adrian Saunders delivering the court's decision today.
Justice Adrian Saunders delivering the court’s decision today.

This story is developing and will be updated.

The Caribbean Court of Justice today threw out a controversial Guyana Court of Appeal decision that inserted the word “valid” into the consideration of votes for the election of a President.

President of the Court Adrian Saunders said that in a unanimous decision that the decision of the Court of Appeal was null and void and of no  effect.   

It also said that the report of the Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield of June 23 cutting over 115,000 votes is illicit and of no effect.

Justice Saunders was scathing in his concern that the election process has gone on for too long. He said it is now left to the Guyana Elections Commission to secure the report from the CEO that it instructed that he deliver based on the recount of votes.

He said that matters raised by counsel for Edlyn David and Joseph Harmon fall within the jurisdiction of the High Court and an election petition.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to rule on recount case – CCJ

President of the CCJ Justice Adrian Saunders

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders has said in the delivery of the Court’s judgment that the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate on the case brought before it by Eslyn David against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

He said that since the Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, the finality clause contained in Article 177(4) of the Constitution is in this matter inoperable.
As a result, the Caribbean Court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

FULL RULING SUMMARY

The full ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice in the case Mohamed Irfaan Ali, et al v Eslyn David, et al:

Ali-and-Jagdeo-v-David-and-others-Judgment-Summary-final

————————————————————————————————————————–

GECOM to meet tomorrow – Thursday

The seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is scheduled to meet tomorrow at 13:30hrs.

This was confirmed by Public Relations Officer of GECOM, Yolanda Ward.

At the meeting, the Commissioners are expected to discuss the judgments made by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in relation to the ongoing electoral process in Guyana.

Among other decisions, the CCJ ruled that the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield must produce a final elections report as ordered by the Chair Justice Claudette Singh.

The GECOM Chairwoman had instructed Lowenfield to prepare his report based on the certified recount results, which show that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) won the elections with 233,336 votes.

Instead, Lowenfield had submitted a report invalidating over 115,000 voters based on unsubstantiated allegations made by the APNU/AFC.

The CCJ has since ruled that Lowenfield’s latest report is invalid and that the concerns raised by the APNU/AFC coalition must be addressed in an elections petition.


 

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Comments

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On July 8, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Doesn’t Surprise me at all.
    These decisions are as I expected (any reasonanle person would take).
    VNM

  • brandli62  On July 8, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    In response to the CCJ decision of today, I would like to draw attention to the following discrepancy. The recent elections in Guyana were conducted without any obvious systematic voter intimidation and the voting was largely fair. I have however a hard time to accept that the elections were transparent. Even after the CARICOM supervised recount, a key question still remains that has not been addressed to date.

    According to the unofficial recount numbers, 460’035 valid votes were casted on in the March 2020 elections. Given my own calculations, we can expected about 477’910 eligible voters living in Guyana (i.e. adults, 18 year and older, which constitute about 62.3% of the Guyanese population).

    This calculation is based on an estimated population 782’766 for 2019 (source: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/guyana-population/). The foreign population is about 15’655 (2%), which would result in 767’111 Guyanese citizens living in Guyana. 62.3% or 477’910 would therefore be of voting age. Hence, with 477’910 eligible voters living in Guyana and 460’035 votes casted then the voter turnout for the 2020 elections would be 96.3%. This is rather unrealistic.

    The voter turnout for the 2020 elections was reported to be 72.58% (https://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/93/). Hence, we should only expect about 335’000 votes casted in the 2020 general elections. If true, there are about 125’000 votes too many in the ballot boxes. Alternatively, if the number of 460’035 valid votes is indeed correct, we would have to postulate a resident population of a more than 1 million in Guyana.

    One could argue that the 125’000 excess votes could be accounted to Guyanese living abroad, who returned to Guyana to vote. This in theory possible, but I doubt that his is the case. You would need 625 plane flights (with 200 passenger on board) to bring these people to Guyana. In addition, most of them would have to find temporary accommodation in the Georgetown metropolitan area. In my opinion, Guyanese abroad returning to vote in the general elections 2020 would amount at best some few thousand extra voters.

    In summary, the number of casted votes appears to be unrealistically high and there is presently no rational explanation why this should be correct. In my opinion, we can only speak of fair and transparent elections, if they are conducted on the basis of a validated list of eligible voters living in Guyana on election day. This precondition has not been met for the 2020 elections.

    I therefore believe that the general elections of March 2, 2020, have to be annulled and a caretaker government needs to take over to prepare for new elections in 2021 on the basis of an updated and validated voter registry. I am however not sure whether the Guyanese constitution allows for this type of a solution.

  • Russell D'Abreu  On July 8, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    This election is like a never done sweetie

  • Charles Beresford  On July 8, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    As I understand the ruling yet to be written the CCJ has Jurisdiction, it didn’t set aside order 60 but the ruling as Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction. It also didn’t rule against more votes meaning valid votes ,so we are back to the process when Chairwoman asked CEO for declaration report, but wait until written order is handed down

  • wally n  On July 8, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Round and round we go……….again?? OK try this..every party write their name on a piece of paper…drop it in a hat……get a honest person to pick the winner…..WHAT! WHAT! UNABLE TO FIND ONE HONEST PERSON??
    Sorry.

  • Michael McCammon (UK)  On July 9, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Oil is but a curse to this country. Suddenly outsiders are interested in Guyana. Now a laughing stock brought on by greed of people who haven’t got the interests and well being of the country. The whole situation reeks with the stench of organised fraud as the electoral figures don’t add up. Sad!

    • Mike Persaud  On July 9, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      The world is watching. It is time for Granger to step up and stop this nonsense! The country needs to move on!

      Concede! You have been defeated!

      MP

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