Guyana Elections: CJ dismisses Misenga Jones application; says CCJ endorsed recount process

says Mingo declaration overtaken, Chief Election Officer is not `lone ranger’

A screenshot from today's hearing

A screenshot from today’s hearing

Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire today ruled that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) endorsed the recount of votes and that the ten old declarations cannot be “resurrected”.

This finding was a major defeat in the latest attempt by an APNU+AFC supporter to prevent a declaration of a result based on the recount results. 

LEGAL CASES re ELECTIONS

This newest in a series of cases connected to the elections was brought by Tucville resident Misenga Jones who wanted the GECOM Chairperson, Claudette Singh  to be prohibited from using the results of the national recount to declare a winner.

Jones had wanted the recount process declared illegal. The CJ has ruled against this.

She said that the court cannot rule that the recount order, Order 60 is invalidated. She noted that Order 60 had already been considered in upper courts and therefore the principle of res judicata applies.

She also said that the 10 declarations that Jones had wanted to be returned to have been overtaken. This included a rigged one for District Four by Clairmont Mingo. Those declarations fraudulently showed that the election was won by APNU+AFC whereas the recount shows that the opposition PPP/C had won.

The CJ said that Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield is not a “lone ranger” and has to come under the direction of GECOM and its Chair. She said that there can no longer be an impasse between the CEO and Chair. The CJ said that the CEO is not a constitutional officer, that status resides with the GECOM Chair.

Lowenfield has thrice defied the GECOM Chair’s instruction to deliver the recount results to the Commission.
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  • guyaneseonline  On July 21, 2020 at 12:29 am

    High Court rules that recounted votes stand; appeal to be filed
    Posted by: Denis Chabrol in – Demerara Waves – July 20, 2020

    Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on Monday ruled that the votes from the national recount must be used to declare the results of the March, 2020 general and regional elections, even as she dismissed the application by a supporter of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).

    Senior Counsel, Roysdale Forde immediately said he and his team would be filing an appeal to the Guyana Court of Appeal. He asked for undertakings to be given by the Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield and the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh that no action would be taken to disturb the status quo.

    Attorney General, Basil Williams endorsed Mr. Forde’s intention to file an appeal and signaled that the matter would be finally settled right up to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

    Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall , for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), said there was no reason for any commitment to be given that no action would be taken by GECOM pending the filing of an appeal. “There are no proceedings pending until an appeal is filed. Any undertaking that would be given now would be hinged on nothing and would be vacuous,” Nandlall said.

    The GECOM Chairman’s lawyer, Kim Kyte-Thomas said she would give a commitment only if the appeal would be filed on Tuesday because the elections were held since March and “we cannot continue like this.”

    The Chief Justice said she based her judgement on decisions by the Guyana Court of Appeal and Caribbean Court of Appeal.

    She made it clear that “the 10 declarations cannot be resurrected at this point in time.” She said only the recount data can be used to declare the results of the polls.

    The Chief Justice said the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield is subject to the direction and control of the Chairman and the Guyana Elections Commission as he is a mere functionary. “The CEO cannot be a lone ranger,” she said.

    The Chief Justice chided those who were seeking re-litigate public interest cases when the questions have been settled already by the courts. She said Order 60 that facilitated the Guyana Elections Commission’s recount of votes cast in the general and regional elections four months ago is valid.

    She said arguments by the lawyers for APNU+AFC supporter, Misenga Jones and Attorney General, Basil Williams that Order 60 is unconstitutional are “hopelessly valid.” In relation to constitutionality of the use of Section 22 of the Election Laws Amendment Act to make Order 60, she said the Guyana Court of Appeal has already pronounced on the issue, she was bound to follow that decision and the applicant did not provide the High Court with any basis for that point to be reexamined. “I can discern no distinguishing feature that would permit me to depart from this judgment; nor has any evidence been disclosed on the affidavits by and/or on behalf of the applicant such as to permit me to do so,” Justice Wiltshire-George said.

    Based on the recount, of the 460,352 valid votes cast, the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) would be declared as the loser with 217,920 and the People’s Progressive Party the winner with 233,336. The three ‘joinder’ parties- A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM) got a total of 5,214‬ votes.

    • Brother Man  On July 21, 2020 at 12:47 am

      This has become a national embarrassment and an international circus.

      Brother Man

  • brandli62  On July 21, 2020 at 5:20 am

    As the readers of Guyanese Online may know, I have raised in the past concerns that the number of votes cast in the 2020 general elections, which appear to be too high (see https://guyaneseonline.net/2020/07/09/guyana-elections-are-460035-votes-cast-in-the-2020-general-elections-credible-opinion/). A similar letter was published in the Guyana Chronicle on July 11, 2020 (https://guyanachronicle.com/2020/07/11/were-the-460295-votes-cast-in-the-2020-general-elections-credible/). To date, I still have not seen any credible and convincing evidence disproving my analysis.

    However, given the recent court decisions, I believe that time has come for GECOM to declare the results on the basis of the recount votes. It is in the national interest to move on. In understand that Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield is not willing to do so as he has serious issues with the validity of a significant portion of the votes cast. He is entitled to this position, but his position is not been supported by the Guyana Court of Appeal. Hence, my advice to Mr. Lowenfield is to step down in order to clear the way for GECOM to declare the results.

    Importantly, I would strongly encourage APNU+AFC or any other party or private citizen to challenge the declaration in accordance with the provisions of Article 163 of the Constitution of Guyana, in an Election Petition Court. This will be the proper and constitutional venue to present evidence in support of the notion of too many votes cast or other election irregularities concerning the 2020 general elections.

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