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Chief Justice throws out Chris Ram’s request to stop house-to-house registration

Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall (left) and his client, Christopher Ram outside the Chief Justice’s Chambers.

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on Tuesday refused political commentator, Christopher Ram’s request for an order to stop the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from continuing its now four-day old house-to-house registration process.

Ram’s Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall said the judge did not grant the conservatory order in an in-Chambers hearing. He said the Chief Justice did not find sufficient evidence to convince her to stop the process that is expected to pave the way for the creation of a new voters’ list. “The CJ (Chief Justice) did not grant the Conservatory Order which we sought to restrain the registration process,” Nandlall told reporters. “She said we have not satisfied her that there is enough evidence that GECOM is not acting to hold elections within that timeframe,” he added.

Nandlall is expected to file an affidavit later Tuesday to show that the registration process would collide with the requirement that elections must be held within three months.

GECOM also says it has begun preparations for General Elections.

Nandlall, a former Attorney General, is now tasked with laying over arguments to prove to the Chief Justice that the house-to-house registration process would result in the failure of GECOM to hold general elections by September 18, 2019, the new three-month timeframe after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that last December’s no-confidence motion was validly passed. The regional appeal court also said President David Granger and his Cabinet ought to have resigned and he and the government remain in office as a caretaker until elections are held.

The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) was granted permission by the Chief Justice to be a party to the case and would also be filing written submissions.

Senior Counsel Neil Boston failed in his bid to secure 14 days to file a response to Ram’s position that general elections ought to be held by September 18, but the registration process would far exceed that date.

Nandlall said after house-to-house registration is completed, there would have to be claims and objections and the creation of a voters list from the National Register. “There is no way that this exercise can be concluded within and for holding elections by September 18,” he added.

He also reiterated that house-to-house registration would result in the removal of eligible voters who are overseas.