APNU+AFC candidate asks Court of Appeal to order High Court to review GECOM vote recount decision

Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, 21:01 by Writer

The Court of Appeal will Thursday begin determining whether Ulita Moore can appeal a decision that the High Court cannot legally hear her request for a judicial review of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to order a recount of votes cast in last month’s general elections.

Through her lawyers Mayo Robertson and Roysdale Forde, Moore wants the application for leave to file an appeal to be treated as hearing of the appeal in an early and speedy manner.

The Full Court of the High Court on Tuesday upheld an appeal by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Representative of the List, Bharrat Jagdeo to not hear the review because the Representation of the People Act prohibits any court from enquiring into the seven-member commission’s decisions.

High Court Judge, Franklin Holder had ruled that he has jurisdiction to hear the judicial review but Jagdeo successfully appealed that decision to the Full Court.

The Full Court also refused Moore’s application for leave to file an appeal to the Court of Appeal, saying there was little chance of success.

But Moore, in documents filed with the Court of Appeal, yesterday disagreed, and instead said there was every prospect of success.

Moore says the Full Court composed of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire and Justice Nareshwar Harnanan erred in law and were plainly wrong. She says the Full Court failed to properly construe the legislative regime governing election disputes, in particular Section 140 of the Representation of the People Act.

Moore, who is an APNU+AFC candidate, says the Full Court’s refusal to grant leave is bad in law and she ought to be granted leave to file an appeal against the decision of the Full Court.

Through her lawyers, Moore says the Court of Appeal Act provides for leave to be granted for the filing of a Notice of Appeal, appealing a decision of the Full Court to the Court of Appeal before the filing of the same appeal.

Moore wants the High Court to find that GECOM’s decision to order a recount is unlawful and instead the commission should consider the declarations by the 10 district returning officers through a report that has been already compiled by Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield.

In a separate case, Justice Holder on Tuesday ruled that he does not have jurisdiction to quash the Region/District Four declaration by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo and any dispute of the results must be brought to the court through an election’s petition.