THE People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) launched an attack on the judiciary on Sunday when it stated that the High Court would become “part of the problem” if it does not rule in favour of a recount of votes cast at the 2020 elections.
In a statement on Sunday, the Opposition put forward that all political parties, including the governing coalition; the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the international community, are in support of a recount and to deny such would be unconstitutional of the Court.
“Against this backdrop, why would a Court stand in the way of such an imminent resolution of the dispute before it by the authorized constitutional agency? In such a circumstance, any Court that hinders the resolution of this dispute becomes part of the problem and not the solution,” the party stated.
It added: “the fair, just and expedient thing for a Court to do, in these circumstances, is to hold its hands, while the constitutional institution discharges its mandate. After all, no Court has the jurisdiction to give legitimacy to that which is plainly illegitimate.”
Guyana is governed by three separate, but complementary, branches of Government: the Legislature (National Assembly), the Executive (President, Cabinet and Government Departments) and the Judiciary (Courts).
The power to run the country is divided among the three branches to create a system of checks and balances.
The Judicial branch vests its authority in the courts. The courts determine and interpret the law and are independent, impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law.
Article 122 A (1) of the Constitution states: “All courts and all persons presiding over the courts shall exercise their functions independently of the control and direction of any other person or authority, and shall be free and independent from political, executive, and any other form of direction and control.”
Nonetheless, the PPP/C’s statement on Sunday seemed to suggest that should the Court, in its judgement, rule contrariwise to the position held strongly by its party, it would be failing to meet its mandate.
The statement was made even as matters relating to the national recount and the tabulation of Region Four votes remain before the court.
“The ultimate objective of any judicial system is to resolve disputes in accordance with law. Any time a Court obstructs, rather than facilitate the resolution of a dispute before it, in any form or fashion, that Court would be departing from its conceptual role and indeed, its constitutional duty,” the Opposition party stated.
It further added: “The very survival of Guyana, as a Nation State, being part of the civilised and free world, is currently before the Courts of Guyana. The quintessential issue of controversy is whether a recount of the ballots cast should be done. The law says that it is a mandatory facility available to any political party desirous of a recount.”
The PPP/C noted that the request for a recount has been made by eight political parties; “every major local organisation”; “every accredited international observer team and almost every diplomatic mission in Guyana and the Governments they represent.
It noted that CARICOM reached out to broker an agreement between the President and the Leader of the Opposition to facilitate this recount and an Aide Memoire was signed but the recount was not realised due to an interim injunction.
The party also pointed out that the GECOM Chair has indicated that GECOM is willing to carry out this recount.
The party stated: “The world has said to Guyana that no government, which assumes Office through the current declaration of the Region 4 results, would enjoy legitimacy and that a repertoire of sanctions will be unleashed upon Guyana, and personally against those who aided and abetted in the derailing of democracy at these elections.”