As thousands of Guyanese impatiently wait for their votes to be properly counted, the PNC-led coalition Administration is hoping that the court discharges an injunction ordering them to comply with the laws of the land, so that they can unconstitutionally swear-in their leader, David Granger, as President of Guyana.
In a rare proceeding set for today at 10:00h, the Demerara High Court will deal with the case surrounding the injunctions delivered to the six Commissioners on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), who were served with court orders, barring them from declaring the elections result without verification.
The injunction was sought by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall after the Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo attempted to declare unverified results for the General and Regional Elections.
Mingo, however, secretly declared the results – to the surprise of the main political Opposition, smaller political parties, elections observer missions, and the wider international community.
On the evening of March 5, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield had committed to having the vertification process run throughout the night until completeion. However, this was never done, which was a clear violation of the law.
The injunction also had to be delivered to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield as well as GECOM Chair, Justice Claudette Singh. However, despite repeated attempts to do so, Nandlall and the court bailiffs failed in their quest to deliver the court orders.
In a pre-recorded video message released to the media Friday night, Executive Member of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Joseph Harmon announced that the GECOM Chair has “decided to follow what the court says”.
He said the matter will be heard at the High Court and it is the APNU/AFC’s hope that “this matter will be treated with some amount of speed”.
Notably, the GECOM Chair herself did not make this announcement. In fact, she has been missing in action since Thursday when the RO declared unverified results.
“Chairman of the Elections Commission, herself being a former Justice of Appeal, decided that she will follow what the court says and has agreed that this procedure for the swearing-in of the President will be put on hold,” Harmon announced.
In his message, the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency said the APNU/AFC coalition wants Granger to be “sworn-in very quickly”.
This is despite mounting international pressure for GECOM to resume the verification process of the results. In fact, the ABCE countries have even called on Granger not to transition into a new Government, as such a Government will be considered “unconstitutional”.
“We have to have the President sworn in very quickly,” Harmon said.
In order for a new President to be sworn-in, GECOM’s CEO has to make a declaration of the winner of the general results, followed by a meeting of the entire Commission.
Thereafter, the GECOM Chairperson is supposed to send a statement to the Chancellor of the Judiciary, who will then make the arrangements to have the President sworn-in.
On Friday also the international community – including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, European Union among others – called on President Granger to avoid a transition of Government, which “we believe would be unconstitutional as it would be based on a vote tabulation process that lacked credibility and transparency,” they said in a joint statement.