Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2020, 20:45 by Denis Chabrol
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) executive member, Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall on Thursday night accused pro-coalition Elections Commissioner, Vincent Alexander of scheming to derail the planned recount of votes cast in last month’s general elections.
Nandlall’s position was in reaction to Alexander saying that the 10 declaration of results by the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) Returning Officers were still legal until they were replaced by the results of the recount that could start before month-end.
The former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, who has been spearheading the PPP’s politically-related court battles, assailed Alexander for drafting a recount order, to be gazetted, that could eventually be used to deem the exercise illegal.
“Alexander is also hell- bent in including in the Order currently under review by the Commission, a host of matters which he hopes will cause the recount process to run afoul of the the law. He is doing so deliberately, knowing fully well, the likely consequences!,” Nandlall said.
Well-placed multiple sources confirmed that Alexander’s draft order refers to an informal agreement between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, something that the Court has already struck down in a case by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) candidate, Ulita Moore, that no political agreement by external parties could instruct or require GECOM to take certain actions.
The sources also said Alexander’s draft order requires the Commission to consider a report of the recount instead of leaving it up to the automatic process under the Representation of the People Act for the Chief Elections Officer to submit a report to the Chairman for consideration by the commission.
“Alexander is not giving up. Clearly, he is hoping for some event to occur, which would, either prevent the recount from taking place, or if it takes place, rendering it a nullity, so that the status quo ante the recount will prevail,” Nandlall said.
Alexander said earlier Thursday that possibly Region Four’s declaration was questionable but then went on to say all 10 were legal, but Nandlall said Alexander was claiming the Region Four regional and national declarations by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo was also legal.
“Today, we heard Alexander arguing that the infamous declarations made by Mingo is legal, although every international and local accredited observer team, all the political parties, the diplomatic community, CARICOM and the Governments of the ABC countries, have all condemned it as fraudulent. Alexander also wants to retain the fraudulent report prepared by Lowenfield to the Commission, which report contains Mingo’s fraud declarations,” said Nandlall.
The former Attorney General said no court has to necessarily pronounce on something as fraudulent, but from all available accounts it could be so deemed.
Contrary to Alexander’s position that the declarations were legal until replaced, Nandlall the seven-member GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh had recognised the fraudulent nature of those two Region Four declarations and “did not accept the report” from Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and tossed it aside.
Referring to Alexander’s position that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by several officers named by a GECOM Commissioner as people who should not be part of the recount process, Nandlall said her “refusal to remove identified toxic persons from the recount process, does not go down well.
He called on Singh to reject Alexander’s illicit strategy unconditionally.
The commission meets again on Friday to finalise the work-plan, agree on a draft order for the recount to be published in the Official Gazette and await word from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) headquarters on when the team of scrutineers would be coming to observe the recount and validate the results.