Leader of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party Bharrat Jagdeo has welcomed Thursday’s ruling by Guyana’s Court of Appeal in which it upheld the decision of Chief Justice Roxane George that the national vote recount is valid.
In dismissing the appeal as being frivolous and vexatious, the Court of Appeal also upheld that the Chief Elections Officer, as an employee of GECOM, must do as he is told by the Commission.
“We are pleased that the decision was unanimous in this regard,” Jagdeo said during a virtual briefing moments after the judgment was handed down.
He believes that even in the face of a 24-hour stay granted by the Court of Appeal, that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must now move ahead with declaring the winner of the elections in keeping with the recount figures.
The recount shows the PPP winning the elections by over 15,000 votes.
“We were shocked to see how the court tolerated the nonsensical arguments that were proffered to justify the stay and the court did not answer the question from Senior Counsel [Douglas] Mendes as to what precisely are you staying,” Jagdeo added.
Jagdeo said with the appeal dismissed, GECOM’s Chairman former Judge Claudette Singh is under no obligation to respect the stay granted particularly when the Court did not clarify what the stay was about.
“We don’t know what this stay is about, what they are effectively doing… I would urge the Commission and Justice Singh to act urgently, the country has waited for a very long time… it is time to move on,” the Opposition Leader said.
According to the Constitution, Justice Singh makes a declaration of the results of the elections after the Chief Elections Officer presents his advice.
But the CEO Keith Lowenfield has repeatedly refused to produce his report using the recount figures and instead invalidated hundreds of thousands of votes to hand the APNU+AFC coalition a victory.
The recount shows the coalition losing the elections by over 24, 000 votes.
Jagdeo was keen to point out that the Court of Appeal made it clear that Lowenfield must follow the direction of the Commission in preparing his report which cannot be done using declarations made before the recount.