Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo says that the evidence needed to prove that the house-to-house registration will exceed the constitutional timeline can be found in the notice published by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) in which it announced the operationalisation and other particulars regarding the process.
Jagdeo’s statement comes on the heels of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire’s refusal yesterday to grant an application by attorney-at-law Christopher Ram, who had approached the court seeking a Conservatory Order prohibiting the election body’s registration exercise which commenced last Saturday.
During an in-chamber hearing at the Victoria Law Courts, Ram’s lawyer Anil Nandlall said that Justice George-Wiltshire held that his client failed to satisfy the court that GECOM is not acting to complete the registration process and hold elections by September 18.
According to Nandlall, the Chief Justice wants more evidence to persuade her that the exercise GECOM is conducting will exceed the three-month period.
Article 106 (7) of the Guyana Constitution states that, notwithstanding the government’s defeat, it shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.
Jagdeo, during the “Hot Seat” programme hosted by Stan Gouveia, said yesterday that all the lawyers need to do is to look at the advertisements that were published by GECOM, which outlines the undertaking of the process.
According to that order, dated June 11, 2019 that was gazetted and signed by the former GECOM Chairman, Justice (Retired) James Patterson, the house-to-house registration will commence on Saturday, July 20, 2019 and is set to conclude on October 20, 2019.
This deadline for the registration exceeds the constitutional timeline for elections, which Jagdeo and his party believes to be September 18 of this year.
The PPP leader said that he is optimistic that it should be easy for the lawyers to prove that the process will go pass that timeline.
“It should be pretty easy for the lawyers to do because if they only look at the ad that GECOM put out, that immediately puts you past the deadline,” he said.
The politician further said that after the registration process is completed, there are about “ten other” processes that need to be conducted before there is a voters’ list. These include the inputting of data; sending of data abroad to test the fingerprints to ensure there are no anomalies; the publishing of lists; and a claims and objections process.
“I am sure that the PPP can prove to the court that the house-to-house registration is inconsistent with the timeline imposed by the CCJ and the constitution.”
The Chief Justice will commence hearing arguments on Friday, August 2, 2019.