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GECOM to study High Court decisions today

Last Updated on Wednesday, 1 April 2020, 16:43 by Writer

GECOM Chairperson Claudette Singh flanked by (left to right) PPP-aligned election commissioners Robeson Benn, Bibi Shadick, and Sase Gunraj, as well as pro-coalition commissioners Charles Corbin, Vincent Alexander and Desmond Trotman.

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says it will Wednesday study the High Court’s decisions before it meets on Thursday to determine the way forward on results of general elections held one month ago.

“There won’t be a Commission meeting today. The decision of the court will be studied today and the meeting tomorrow,” GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward said.

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.”

He and the two other PPP-aligned election commissioners, Robeson Benn and Bibi Shadick, however, said “this is unacceptable.”

Coalition-aligned Election Commissioner, Vincent Alexander, 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 Chairperson.

Commissioners had been on standby for a possible meeting on Wednesday morning, but well-placed sources said up to late Tuesday, the GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh had not received copies of the decisions.

Gunraj, Shadick and Benn said they expected Justice Singh “to summon a meeting almost immediately to decide on the soonest possible time for commencement of the count and if necessary, to fine-tune some of the details.”

The Full Court of the High Court on Tuesday ruled that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear a judicial review of the seven-member commission to conduct a national recount of the votes cast on March 2, 2020. That review had been requested by APNU+AFC candidate, Ulita Moore. The High Court also said it could not legally hear a request by PPP Representative of the List, Bharrat Jagdeo for the High Court to scrap the Region Four results declared by Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo.

In both cases, the courts ruled that such matters could only be dealt with at an elections petition after GECOM officially declares the election results.

The seven-member commission is made up of the Chairperson, the coalition-nominated members- Charles Corbin, Desmond Trotman and Vincent Alexander- while the PPP’s nominated commissioners are Bibi Shadick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj.

The Working People’s Alliance of which Trotman is a member has already stated that it supports full recount that is supervised by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

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