PPP-nominated GECOM Commissioner loses High Court challenge to boundary demarcation

Last Updated on Friday, 9 November 2018, 16:57 by Denis Chabrol

High Court Judge, Gino Persaud Friday afternoon threw out People’s Progressive Party’s Bibi Shadick’s efforts to block the holding of local government elections for numerous neighbourhood councils on the grounds that local government minister, Ronald Bulkan did not first issue an order containing several key pieces of information.

In handing down his judgement, Justice Persaud said Shadick’s Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall, failed to produce  evidence to support his contention that the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield fixed, demarcated or re-demarcated any boundaries for the 14 local authority areas.

The Court further ordered Shadick to pay Bulkan GYD$150,000 in costs and Lowenfield GYD$100,000.

Justice Persaud said there was no requirement for the Local Government Minister to publish the boundaries again, having been established in 1990.

The Neighbourhood Democratic Councils that were the subject of judicial review were Moruka/Phoenix Park; Kitty/Providence; Nile/Cozier; Lamaha/Yarowkabra; Hauraruni/Yarowkabra; Plegt Anker/Kortberaad and Wyburg/Caracas.

Based on his dismissal of the relief that had been sought by Shadick, a PPP-nominated Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission, the Judge indicated there was no need to order the Minister of Local Government to hold consultations with the electors and stakeholders and state reasons.

The PPP had charged that the boundary changes amounted to gerrymandering that would skew the November 12 Local Government Elections in favour of one party.

Shadick had wanted the High Court to find that Bulkan’s failure to abide by the Local Democratic Organs Act, Cap. 28:09 to identify by name, boundaries and number of members of each of those councils is “unlawful, illegal, in violation of the Local Democratic Organ Act, Cap. 28:09, in excess of jurisdiction, failed to satisfy or observe procedures required by law, contrary to law, null, void and of no effect”.