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Jagdeo loses High Court arguments on jurisdiction to hear elections case

Last Updated on Friday, 27 March 2020, 22:04 by Writer

The High Court on Friday ruled that it can hear a request for a judicial review of a decision by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to recount votes cast in the March 2 general elections.

Lawyers for People’s Progressive Party Representative of Candidates List, Bharrat Jagdeo, however, applied for leave to appeal Justice Franklyn Holder’s decision that he has jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Holder was to decide Friday afternoon whether to grant leave for the appeal as well as allow an application by Jagdeo for the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield to produce his copies of Statements of Poll.

Jagdeo’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes argues that the High Court cannot hear the case because Section 140 of the Representation of the People Act prohibits a court from inquiring into the work and decisions of GECOM.

Attorney-at-Law Timothy Jonas said Justice Holder now has to decide the extent to which he would hear the case because the Representation of the People Act prohibits him to delve deeply into the workings of the commission. “The judge came to the conclusion that although he has jurisdiction, he has not yet embarked on a consideration of the question on whether he can meaningfully decide whether GECOM acted rightly or wrongly given that he doesn’t know what they talked about or what information is before them and that’s the hurdle that he has to deal with,” Jonas told reporters.

A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change candidate, Ulita Moore has asked the court to review GECOM’s decision for a national recount of the votes.