Last Updated on Monday, 22 June 2020, 15:47 by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana Court of Appeal on Monday ruled by majority that it has jurisdiction to hear an elections case for GECOM and furthered interpreted that more votes are cast means more valid votes are cast.
APNU+AFC supporter Eslyn David wanted the Court to find that the Chief Elections Officer must first determine credible votes cast to calculate the election results of the March 2, 2020 polls.
On the point of whether the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction, Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud ruled “no”, Justice Brassington Reynolds decided “yes” and Justice of Appeal, Dawn Gregory ruled “yes”.
The court also ruled that “more votes are cast ” mean “more valid votes are cast” in keeping with the Recount Order. The CARICOM Recount includes a tabulation that is identical to the Chief Elections Officer’s initial report that describes the more than 460,000 votes as “total valid votes cast”.
The Chief Elections Officer’s observation reports refer to a total of 185,000 votes that were not tainted by alleged voter impersonation and other irregularities.
Attorneys-at-Law Kashir Khan’s application for a three-day stay of the orders was granted by the Court.
All the other orders were refused.
Justice Reynolds said the jurisdiction turns on the election of a President based on Article 177 (4).
GECOM, Mr. Reynolds futther said, has a responsibility to determine the final credible count based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of the observation report, in keeping with provisions of the original order and in the final paragraph of the amended order.
Justice Reynolds ordered that more votes cast in article 177 2 b be interpreted to mean more valid votes cast in keeping with the meaning of the gazetted recount Order Number 60.
Justice Persaud said the Court of Appeal is “without jurisdiction” based on Article 177 of Guyana’s constitution. Saying that that Article is about after a President is elected and so the motion by David is “simply premature.”
Justice Persaud said he was unable to find any law showing that GECOM can pursue any evidential-based investigation or annul an election other than by an election petition at the High Court.
But Justice Reynolds said the special regime was created by the Gazetted recount order
Mr Reynolds said there are separate elections for the President and the National Assembly although they are held at the same time.
Mr. Reynolds said The National Assembly Validity Elections Act only applies to the election of members of the National Assembly, not the President and that Parliament consists of the President and the National Assembly.
Justice Reynolds said that Article 177(4) establishes a separate exclusive jurisdiction in respect of the validity of an election of a president and interpretation of the constitution as it relates to an election of the President.