Opposition lawyer Anil Nandlall seriously opposed to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) continuing its house-to-house registration process which he has deemed illegal since it is not in keeping with the Constitution of Guyana.

Nandlall was at the time presenting submissions on behalf of his fellow lawyer Christopher Ram who has petitioned the High Court asking for an order to stop GECOM from continuing with the registration process; this process commenced on Saturday, July 20.

Further, Ram is also seeking a Conservatory Order compelling GECOM to immediately take all steps and actions necessary and requisite to hold general and regional elections on or before September 18, 2019, in compliance with Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution of Guyana and the decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

According to Nandlall, from his understanding and interpretation of the June 18 rulings of the CCJ, general and regional elections must be held by September 18. But Nandlall was asked by Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, who is hearing the application, to justify this position.

Nandlall explained that since the CCJ affirmed that the no-confidence motion was properly passed against the government on December 21, 2018, the provisions of Articles 106 (7) of the Constitution became engaged.

That Article reads, “Notwithstanding its defeat, the government 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, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election.”

He stressed that elections should have been held since March 21, but was delayed due to litigations. Furthermore, Nandlall submitted that the rulings and consequential orders of the CCJ, to his understanding, meant that an outer timeframe for elections to be held by September 18 was implied.

In this regard, he insisted that GECOM’s decision to embark on the house-to-house registration will collude with this process.

He argued that in order to complete this house-to-house registration within an impossible timeframe will result in thousands of Guyanese being unlawfully deregistered and will omit to register thousands of qualified registrants, thereby resulting in the loss of their right to vote at the next elections. This, he said, would include persons who are temporarily overseas.

In fact, Nandlall submitted that the elections commission deliberately embarked upon the house-to-house registration process to further violate and aggravate the Constitution of Guyana. What makes a huge part of the registration process unconstitutional, according to Nandlall, is that GECOM is looking to scrap the existing voters’ list.

He submitted that Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield had told reporters that that very same list could be used for polls. Lowenfield’s lawyer Roysdale Forde, however, said that there was nothing in the CCJ’s ruling which suggests that elections must be held by September 18.

But Forde contended that no evidence was produced by Ram to support that the house-to-house registration process is unreasonable or unlawful.

According to Forde, the situation at hand has nothing to do with the fact that a no-confidence motion was successfully passed but rather what GECOM considers best for conduction free, fair, and credible elections.

Forde further submitted that he is not aware of any other process other than house-to-house registration for the updating of the voters’ list. Arguments in this case will continue on Monday, August 5 at 09:00hrs.


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