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Full Court to decide future of APNU+AFC candidate challenge to GECOM recount

The Full Court of the High Court will Tuesday determine the future of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) candidate, Ulita Moore’s request for a judicial review of the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) decision to conduct a national recount of all votes cast in the March 2 general elections.

Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire and Justice Naresh Harnanan—sitting as the Full Court—after receiving written and oral arguments, granted a stay of the substantive judicial review proceedings before Justice Franklin Holder until the Full Court’s decision on whether the High Court has jurisdiction to hear that review.

Lawyers for People’s Progressive Party (PPP) representative of the list of candidates, Bharrat Jagdeo are relying on Section 140 of the Representation of the People Act that states that “no question whether as a function of the Elections Commission or any of its members has been performed validly or at all shall be enquired into in any court.”

“We cannot give the court jurisdiction if it doesn’t have one,” Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes said, adding that APNU+AFC candidate Moore wants to nullify GECOM’s decision for a recount of the votes. “At the end of the day, what they are trying to do is to set aside the decision of the commission to conduct a recount,” he said.

Moore’s Attorney-at-Law, Dr. Keith Scotland argued that Jagdeo waived his right to an appeal very early in the case when he filed to be a party to the case and applied for the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield’s Statements of Poll for Region Four to be produced in court. “We say that what they have done by participation, they have waived their right to raise the issue of jurisdiction,” he said.

But the Chief Justice did not agree with the point of waiver because Justice Holder has already said that issue was “alive.” Holder last week ruled that he had jurisdiction and has set 1:30pm Monday for continuation of that case.

But with the stay of proceedings, all depends on the Full Court’s decision on the appeal.