High Court dismisses APNU’s Local Govt constituency boundaries case

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 May 2023, 16:27 by Denis Chabrol

Efforts by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to convince the High Court to postpone or cancel the June 12 Local Government Elections (LGE) because a number of constituency boundaries would be to that party’s electoral disadvantage on Wednesday failed after the High Court dismissed the case.

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire said the court could not concern itself with the political fortunes of any party and in any case the argument by APNU Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith-Joseph was “without merit.” “Prejudice to a particular party is not and cannot be a concern of the court and by extension cannot be a concern of GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission). This ground is asking the court to engage in partisan politics which cannot be countenanced,” the judge said in handing down her decision. She said even if that ground could have been considered there was no evidence to back up the claim.

With Wednesday’s ruling, the way now appears clear for the Disciplined Services to cast their ballots on June 2, 2023 ahead of the general public on June 12, 2023.

In her decision, the Chief Justice disagreed with Attorney-at-Law Lyndon Amsterdam, for Ms Smith-Joseph, that it is GECOM that is constitutionally responsible for the demarcation of constituencies. Instead, she said Article 72 of Guyana’s Constitution does not apply to GECOM’s role in combining or subdividing electoral divisions to form new constituencies within the local authority areas as established by order of the Minister of Local Government.

She said there there was no evidence to suggest or prove that there has been any breach of these provisions dealing with the supervision of elections by GECOM.

This is the second LGE case that APNU has lost for the week; the first having to do with the cleanliness of the voters list from which the Registers of Voters have been generated for persons to elect councils in the 70 neighbourhoods and 10 towns.