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APNU+AFC to file two election petitions to cater for potential failure

by Samuel Sukhnandan

Alliance for Change (AFC) Chairman Mr. Raphael Trotman said Friday that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) will be filing two election petitions to challenge the declaration of the March, 2020 general and regional elections.

Mr. Trotman made this disclosure on Friday during a virtual press conference, where he outlined reasons for the decision. According to him, there has been heightened interest both in Guyana and overseas to go along that route. He also said filing multiple petitions is necessary given the success rate of such applications.

“It’s not the first time that multiple petitions are being filed following an election, and with good reason. Should one fail, there’s another to stand up, because the law with respect to petitions is very strict and many petitions in fact, have failed. I believe there has only been one successful petition,” he explained.

The former minister said that it is also always important to have multiple petitions, so if there is a defect in one, that defect will not be found in the other.

Mr. Trotman said the expectation is that that application will be considered and approved speedily by the court, as was the case for other legal matters particularly during the highly contentious pre and post elections period.

“The process is unfolding. We expect that it will be dealt with and the formal proceedings will proceed on Monday. And thereafter, the High Court will set a very early date because this is a matter of national, regional and international import. The speedier we have this resolved the better,” he added.

The AFC executive explained that the party will use information from the recount process in its applications to the court, particularly as it relates to allegations of migrant voters, names of persons believed to be dead but were listed as voted and missing pollbooks, among others.

“We have the actual observation reports, we have eyewitness reports for persons who were present. With that said, it is expected that we would have covered most of the ground in terms of where the discrepancies and illegalities lie and the question would then be for the court, whether these are sufficient…on both a qualitative and quantitative basis to overturn the elections…these are all matters that will form part of the petition,” he told the press.

An application for leave to file an election petition regarding the 2020 elections has already been filed with the High Court. The application was made on Thursday, August 27 by Attorney Mr. Roysdale Forde on behalf of applicants, Ms.Claudette Thorne and Mr. Heston Bostwick.

The attorney listed in this application are Mr. Forde, Mr. Trotman, Trinidad Senior Counsel Mr. John Jeremie and Ms. Olayne Joseph.

Presumptive Opposition Leader Mr. Joseph Harmon has already indicated that the petition will be filed on Monday in the High Court.