Jagdeo requests disclosure of SOPs in legal battle over elections recount

Jagdeo requests disclosure of SOPs in legal battle over elections recount

Lawyers for Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, have requested disclosure of the Statement of Polls (SOPs) for the votes cast at the Regional and General Elections on March 2.

Attorney-at-law Neil Boston S.C., who is representing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), told the media following a closed hearing before Justice Franklyn Holder at the Georgetown High Court yesterday, that the request has met with strong objections from his team.

Boston has submitted that the request by Jagdeo can only be made in an election petition case. Jagdeo‘s team of lawyers has filed their defence in the case against the elections recount.
The Court has already granted an application to consolidate hearings for the matters filed by Jagdeo and Reaz Holladar, and the case filed by A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) candidate Ulita Moore.

The matter is scheduled to continue today for further arguments in relation to the defence filed.
In the interim, the Court is still in the preliminary stages of hearing the application by Moore to block the national recount of the ballots cast on March 2.

Last Friday, Justice Holder approved applications by the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), A New and United Guyana (ANUG) and The New Movement (TNM) to be joined as parties to the proceedings
So far, an interim injunction has been granted to put the recount process on hold.

The interim injunction granted to Moore restrains the GECOM from setting aside or varying the declarations already made by the 10 electoral districts with any other documents or declarations, until the hearing and determination of the judicial review of the application.

Further, the interim injunction granted by Justice Holder, restrains GECOM from permitting or authorising “any person or persons to any agreement between the President of Guyana and the leader of the Opposition and or any agreement between GECOM and the Caribbean Community or at all, to count or recount any ballots cast by electors at the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application.”

“The interim decision also restrains the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, from submitting any report of the total votes cast for each List of Candidates pursuant to Section 96 (1) and (2) of the Representation of the People Act, save and except the votes counted and the information furnished by the Returning Officer under Section 84 (1) of the Representation of the People Act until the hearing and determination of the judicial review application filed herein.”
Attorneys Mayo Robertson and Roysdale Forde are representing the applicant. Respondents to the court matter are the GECOM, the Chairman of the Commission and the Chief Elections Officer.

The GECOM was, prior to the injunction, scheduled to recount ballots in the elections following an agreement by President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
The decision for a recount was made following an intervention by the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley. Prior to the injunction by the Court, Mottley had provided a high-level team to supervise the recount.

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