Fri | Mar 5, 2021

Gov’t welcomes dismissal of election petition

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2021 | 12:13 AM
Attorney General Anil Nandlall.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall.

GEORGETOWN (CMC):

Attorney General Anil Nandlall says the decision by Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire to dismiss an Opposition election petition was a good one that will provide guidance for the future.

George-Wiltshire on Monday dismissed the petition filed by A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition, which challenged the final results of the March 2, 2020 election declared by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on August 2, 2020. She nullified that petition on the grounds of non-compliance of service on the second named respondent, former President David Granger.

Nandlall said the chief justice’s comprehensive judgment examined all the legal issues and case law and dealt with “every argument in an admirable way”.

‘Very good judgment’

“I believe it was a very good judgment, and a judgment that will guide us in the future,” he said.

The petitioners had argued that Granger was not a proper and necessary party to the petition and, therefore, his late service on September 25, 2020, outside of the stipulated time frame, was of little to no consequence to the matter.

Section 8 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act (1998) states “within the prescribed time, not exceeding five days after the presentation of an election petition, the petitioner shall in the prescribed manner serve on the respondent a notice of the presentation of the petition …”

Justice George also rejected a supplementary affidavit filed by the petitioners that Granger was served on September 18, but reportedly signed a later date by mistake.

“The law is very clear. When election petition documents or the election petitions are not served within the time stipulated, the law is very strict, the law is very rigid, and the law says the petition is a nullity and must be dismissed, that the court has no jurisdiction to deal with a petition affected to non-service or late service in relation to any of the documents,” the attorney general said.

“Mr Granger represented a list of candidates who won seats in the National Assembly and it would have been wrong, against the principles of natural justice and fairness, not to have named him a party.”

The attorney general said it was ironic that the APNU+AFC’s petition was dismissed for late service on its own leader, which he said was a very tragic tale of incompetence.