Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Guyana Court of Appeal rules it has jurisdiction to hear election case

Published:Monday | June 22, 2020 | 3:09 PM
The Court of Appeal building in Guyana - Contributed photo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Court of Appeal Monday ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear a case regarding the election of a president as Guyana still awaits the official results of the disputed March 2 regional and general elections.

Further, the court ruled that it has interpreted that “more votes” cast should in effect be “more valid votes”.

By a majority ruling of 2-1, the Court of Appeal did not grant all the remedies that private citizen, Eslyn David, had sought in her motion and also agreed to a stay of three days on the judgment.

Justices Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory ruled that the Guyana Elections Commission has a responsibility to determine the final credible count based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of the observation report, in keeping with provisions of the original order and in the final paragraph of the amended order.

But, in his minority ruling, Justice Rishi Persaud, ruled that the motion was “premature” and that the applicant should have awaited to take the matter before the High Court, after the election commission would have announced the official results.

Persaud said the Court of Appeal is “without jurisdiction” based on Article 177 of Guyana’s constitution and that he was also unable to find any law showing that the commission can pursue any evidential-based investigation or annul an election other than by an election petition at the High Court.

The main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic said that it won the elections based on the national recount of votes that ended on June 9.

But the ruling coalition A Partnership for National Unity has said that the polls were filled with irregularities and wants it annulled.

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