Cases blocking elections declaration
As the nation is being made to endure another round of legal battle seeking to prevent the declaration of the results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections, several questions are now being raised in regard to how the APNU/AFC Coalition is funding its huge legal costs.
There are concerns that this financial burden is being placed on the backs of tax payers, and answers are being sought to provide clarity.
Attorney-at-law and Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram has expressed that legal representatives of the APNU/AFC are deliberately abusing the court system to drag out the electoral process, and hence to prevent the duly elected government from being installed.
According to Ram during an interview on local radio program Room 592, if it is indeed the case that the Treasury would have to foot this huge legal bill, this is against basic fundamental democratic practices, especially since the majority of citizens are against the actions being taken by the APNU/AFC coalition to prevent credible elections’ results from being declared.
Ram asked: “(Are) the APNU/AFC paying their legal bills, or are we, tax payers, paying those bills?” In this regard, Ram declared: “Governments do not contest elections, political parties do.”
Ram noted that Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield was also made a party to the Recount case, “and as immoral as it is”, the cost would have to be borne by the State.
The outspoken activist said that Government’s chief legal advisor, Basil Williams, claims he was involved in the matter to protect the Constitution, but “I am not sure how confident we should be to have someone like Basil Williams protect our Constitution”.
According to the attorney, it is clear that the saga of these election cases will themselves be the subject of an investigation. “That investigation may very well recommend some form of criminal action”.
Among her decisions handed down in the Misenga Jones v GECOM et al matter on Monday, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire contended that the only valid results standing are those from the National Recount, and hence those are the figures that must be used as the basis for a declaration of the winner of the March 2, polls.
The CJ dismissed Jones’s application for judicial review, since most, if not all, of the 28 reliefs she sought from the court were already litigated in previous matters brought by the Coalition in the cases of Ulita Moore and Eslyn David.
But moments after the CJ ruled, the APNU/AFC, through its legal representative Roysdale Forde, indicated that the Coalition will appeal the decisions.
However, several stakeholders have expressed disgust at the decision of the Coalition, since these issues were already litigated by the COA and subsequently the CCJ.
The CJ, in her ruling on Monday, based her decisions largely on the Court of Appeal’s ruling in the Eslyn David as well as the Ulita Moore cases, and on the CCJ ruling in Eslyn David cases.
Ram posited that both Roysdale Forde and Basil Williams are carrying out the agenda of APNU/AFC’s “strongman Joseph Harmon” in spite of all the evidence showing that the Coalition has lost power.
According to Ram, he believes there are enough people in the country, “including the Chancellor, and the head of the Defence Force that will not allow an unlawful Government to stay in place.”
The PPP/C has won the elections convincingly by over 15,000 votes, but President Granger and his APNU/AFC have largely remained unmoved by the mounting calls to step aside and allow for a smooth transition of Government.
Efforts to contact several of the attorneys for comment, including the Attorney General, proved futile.