Guyana Court of Appeal to accept CARICOM recount report as evidence

Last Updated on Friday, 19 June 2020, 15:47 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Court of Appeal on Friday agreed to accept a copy of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recount report in a case brought by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) supporter to order the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) not use the all of the recount results because they are tainted by alleged impersonation and other irregularities.

The Court has ordered that lawyers representing the APNU+AFC supporter, Eslyn David, the caretaker administration, General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Bharrat Jagdeo, that party’s presidential candidate, Irfaan Ali and three small political parties to return at 11 AM Saturday.

Between Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning, they are all expected to file affidavits and responses.

Hearing the case are Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory, Rishi Persaud and Brassington Reynolds.

Senior Counsel, Ralph Ramkarran who, along with Attorney-at-Law Timothy Jonas, is representing A New and United Guyana, The New Movement and Liberty and Justice Party said it was important for the Guyana Court of Appeal to receive the CARICOM recount report based on the pleadings by the APNU+AFC supporter through her lawyer, Mayo Robertson.

Ramkarran notes that David’s application refers to the the gazetted order, the recount process, alleged fraud and letters written by APNU+AFC election agent, Joseph Harmon to GECOM. “It is important for the court to have the full report of all of those things because the report says that this was a fishing expedition and what APNU+AFC complained about during the recount process, which is the basis of all their complaint, was  fishing expedition,”  he said.

The former House Speaker said it was necessary to submit the CARICOM Recount Report to the Court of Appeal or they court would “get a one-sided story.” “We don’t think it’s relevant but, nevertheless, they (judges) need to have the full picture,” he said.

Ramkarran said Article 177 of Guyana’s constitution that is being used by APNU+AFC supporter David as the basis for her case does not give the Guyana Court of Appeal jurisdiction to hear the case because that contemplates the qualification of the person having already been President.

APNU+AFC wants the Court of Appeal to find that GECOM can only use valid votes to determine the outcome of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield on Thursday refused to submit his report to GECOM Chairman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh after he received a notice of motion concerning David’s legal proceedings.

The recount report states that there are more than 460,000 valid votes cast and tabulated results for each of the contesting parties, but in a summary of observation reports Lowenfield states that only 185,000 votes are not tarnished by alleged impersonation and no statutory documents to reconcile the ballots cast with those on the voters’ lists and counterfoils and stubs.