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PPP asks CCJ to block GECOM from declaring results before hearing appeal of “valid votes” case

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is asking the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to block the Chief Elections Officer and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from declaring the results of the March 2, 2020 polls.

PPP General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, in affidavit, asked the CCJ to restrainGECOM from taking any further steps to determine whether the recounted
votes as tabulated by the Chief Election Officer constitutes “a final credible count”.

He also wants the Trinidad-headquartered regional court to prevent GECOM  from otherwise enquiring into the validity or credibility of the tabulated votes pending the determination of this application and the Appeal for which special leave is sought.

Jagdeo also asked the CCJ grant any interim order it may deem fit
from doing anything that  which would usurp the exclusive jurisdiction exercised by the High Court under Article 163 of the Constitution of Guyana.

The PPP is arguing that the Guyana Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to hear a case concerning the election of a President because that person  a President has not yet been elected and the issue of the  validity thereof had accordingly not yet arisen.

That political party does not want the Chief Election Officer from issuing his Report in keeping with the Representation of the People Act or any report that relies on the decision,
including the modified interpretation of Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution of
Guyana given by the Court of Appeal, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Jagdeo also wants the CCJ to prevent
GECOM from taking any further steps to determine whether the recounted
votes as tabulated by the Chief Election Officer constitutes “a final credible count”or otherwise enquiring into the validity or credibility of the tabulated votes.

He explained that himself and PPP presidential candidate Dr. Irfaan Ali
did not apply for leave to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice by first
applying to the Court of Appeal in Guyana because the matter is urgent.

“The issues raised on this appeal touch and concern the legitimacy and integrity of the electoral process in Guyana as a whole and it is crucial that they be determined on an urgent basis,” he said.

Jagdeo and Alli said f the Orders sought by Eslyn Savid are granted, “it will havethe effect of unlawfully inflating the discretion of the Chief Elections Officer and preventing the exercise by GECOM of its specialised and independent supervisory role and will also obfuscate the jurisdiction of GECOM.”

They  said that was reason for asking for interim orders to estrain the Chief Election Officer from issuing a Report
in reliance on the Decision as such Report is likely to disregard the tabulation ofthe Statements of Recount in favour of the adjusted calculations posited by the Chief Elections Officer in his Summary of the Observation Reports.

“The urgent intervention of the Caribbean Court of Justice is justified and necessary to prevent a clear and substantial miscarriage of justice arising out of an act of judicial overreach by the Court of Appeal.

GECOM was reportedly scheduled to meet at  11 AM on June 23, 2020
to discuss the elections.

Representing the PPP are by Mr. Douglas Mendes SC; Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall and Mr. Devindra Kissoon, Attorneys-at-Law.

The Attorney General Basil Williams in a statement said the ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

He said article 177(4) states that a decision of the appeal court under that article is final. 

Further the CCJ Act Cap3:07 section 4 says “nothing in this act shall confer jurisdiction on the court to hear matters in relation to any decision of the Court of Appeal which at the time of entry into force of this act was declared to be final by any law.”  

The AG further contends that the CCJ recognises that it only possess jurisdiction or powers conferred upon it by the agreement or by Guyana’s constitution or any law of the contracting party and it does not usurp that jurisdiction reserved by the laws of the contracting party.