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Nandlall rails against GECOM’s decision to “study” High Court decisions

Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall, one of the lawyers for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Wednesday morning reacted sharply to a decision by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh to first study the High Court’s decisions that they cannot legally hear two election-related cases.

A GECOM spokeswoman earlier Wednesday said the commission first has to study the decisions before that seven-member body meets on Thursday to decide the way forward for results of the general and regional elections held one month ago.

PPP-nominated commissioner, Sase Gunraj, quoting from an email Wednesday morning stated that, “the Government Commissioners requests [sic] that they be given an opportunity to read the decision of the full court, since the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the way forward. They requested that the meeting be held ‪tomorrow morning instead.”

Coalition-aligned Election Commissioner, however, provided evidence showing that he never objected to a GECOM meeting being held on Wednesday. “I am on standby. However I think it is advisable to determine the timing of the meeting based on the availability of the written decision which should be discussed at the meeting,” he told the GECOM Chairman.

Nandlall, who was part of a legal team that convinced the Full Court of the High Court that it had not jurisdiction to hear a judicial review of GECOM’s decision to recount all the votes cast in the March 2, 2020 polls, is however, upset at the delay in holding the meeting.

“What nonsense do we hear now about a “study” of the Full Court’s ruling! People’s patience running thin with these asinine disclosures. The Chairperson of GECOM must act now and decisively so. It is the only way that she can salvage herself and the electoral process!” said Nandlall.

Nandlall noted that the GECOM Chairperson had committed to the Court and the nation that once the injunctions are lifted, GECOM would proceed with the recount. He also recalled that President Granger said that the injunctions prevented him from discharging his commitment under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-supervised recount.

Noting that the High Court’s decision was streamed live on the internet and widely reported by the media and lawyers for the GECOM Chairperson and the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield who were present in Court when the ruling was rendered, Nandlall remarked that “one must be a retard to be unaware of its nature and effect.”

Nandlall, who is a former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, added that when APNU+AFC cadidate Ulita Moore’s injunctions were granted, GECOM never expressed any desire to “study” the proceedings. “They acted upon it instantaneously by halting the recount forthwith, without it even being served upon them,” he said.

The High Court also on Tuesday ruled that it could not hear an application by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Representative of the List, Bharrat Jagdeo to disqualify the results declared by Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo because he did not use the Statements of Poll in the proper manner as had been ordered by the High Court.

Lawyers for Moore have signaled their intention to appeal the Full Court’s decision although Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire and Justice Naresh Harnanan refused to grant them leave to file an appeal on the grounds of little prospect of success at the Guyana Court of Appeal.