Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Guyana CJ to rule on election injunction tomorrow

Chief Justice (CJ) Roxanne George-Wiltshire will hand down a ruling tomorrow on whether the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) can declare the results of the March 2 Regional and General Elections.

The case was brought, last Thursday, by private citizen Reeaz Hollander who claimed that GECOM did not comply with Section 84.01 of the Representation of the People’s Act, Chapter 1:03 to verify the results of Region Four.

Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield and Region Four Retheturning Officer (RO) Clairmont Mingo were also respondents in the matter.

During the elections, there were 897 polling stations in Region Four but the RO only followed the verification process for 421 Statements of Poll.

Mingo then controversially made a final declaration that showed the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) won the district with 136,335 votes while the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) secured 77,258 votes

George-Wiltshire heard hours of arguments today from Hollander’s attorney Senior Counsel (SC) Douglas Mendes and GECOM’s attorney Neil Boston, SC.

Boston is arguing that Mingo “substantially complied” with the law and the RO can adopt whatever methodology he wants to when coming up with final results.

“Substantial compliance will not make it invalid. The Chief Justice seems to be mischaracterizing this thing.”

“Substantial compliance does not have to do with the number of ballot boxes or the number of statements of polls left to have been check. It has to do with conduct and that is what Mr Mingo did,” Boston said after they wrapped up arguments.

He said the PPP/C caused “bacchanal” at the RO's Office and contributed to the disruption that occurred, last Thursday.   

Boston also said that there was no evidence to prove that it was Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Meyers who counted the Statements of Poll that led to Mingo’s declaration.

The matter will resume from 2 pm.

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