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Jagdeo, three small parties now parties in case against recount

The High Court on Friday admitted Representative of the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) list of candidates, Bharrat Jagdeo and the three small joinder political parties as interested parties in a judicial review of decision to recount ballots of this month’s general and regional elections.

The three parties that contested separately with the intention of having their votes added are A New and United Guyana, Liberty and Justice Party, and The New Movement.

Attorneys-at-Law, Sase Gunraj, who is an election commissioner, told reporters that the substantive case concerning the request for a judicial review was not expected to be heard until some time next week.

This case has effectively blocked a Caribbean Community (Caricom)-supervised national recount or a declaration of results leading to the swearing in of David Granger for a second term.

In relation to the request for judicial review, Attorney-at-Law and PPP candidate, Sanjeev Datadin said he and his legal team were relying on the argument that Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo did not abide by the Representation of the People Act in tabulating votes cast in the Region on March 2, 2020. “You know that there is a problem with the declarations that were made in Region Four…what should take place is that the original statements of poll must be used. That was not done. Spreadsheets were used, copies were put up on a projector at 4pm in the sunlight on a white sheet. No one could see it so there is a difficulty that there has been no compliance so if there is no compliance, you have to establish why you are entitled to rely on that declaration,” Datadin said.

Contempt of court proceedings against Mingo are pending before Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire.

The Attorney-at-Law, M. Robertson for Ulita Munroe, the applicant for the judicial review also confirmed that the substantive matter would not be heard until next week.

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Retired Justice Claudette Singh and the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield arrived in court under tight security.

The number of media personnel who were allowed in the High Court building were drastically reduced to about three persons.

However, people accompanying lawyers with books and files were not prevented from entering.

Officials of the court said Justice Holder decided on the number of reporters to be allowed in court due to fears about the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.