The trial of the case blocking the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from carrying out a recount of votes cast on March 02 will not start today as the Full Court has “stayed” the proceedings until it determines whether Justice Franklyn Holder erred in deciding that he has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The Full Court, comprised of Chief Justice Roxane George and Justice Nareshwar Harnanan, heard an appeal against Justice Holder’s decision to take the case to trial and will give a ruling at 11:00 hrs on Tuesday.
On Friday last, Justice Holder ruled that he has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Attorneys for Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and three political parties which contested the elections argue that the law is clear that the Court cannot inquire into the deliberations of the Commission.
The full Commission had agreed to a national recount of votes cast on March 02, 2020, as per an agreement between President David Granger, Opposition Leader Jagdeo and the CARICOM Secretariat.
But APNU+AFC Candidate Ulita Moore was granted orders from the Court blocking the recount on the basis that the Commission cannot act on the agreement.
Justice Claudette Singh, the Chair of GECOM, in an affidavit to the High Court made it clear that the Constitution mandates GECOM to act where there are questions over the fairness and transparency of the electoral process and that the Court should not prevent GECOM from carrying out a recount which the Chief Justice has already accepted as the remedy if there are discrepancies with the Region Four vote count.
The GECOM chair said the decision of the recount was GECOM’s and that the CARICOM team was simply the mechanism to ensure transparency and not a case of political leaders usurping the functions of GECOM as an independent constitutional body.
In her affidavit, the GECOM chair noted that Article 161 (1) (b) of the Constitution provides clear and convincing authority for GECOM to take action it finds necessary and expedient to ensure impartiality, fairness and compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament.