Opposition lawyer, Anil Nandlall has insisted that the votes declaration made for Region 4 at minutes to midnight yesterday was unlawful, and has moved to the High Court to have the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) barred from declaring the final results for the March 2 General and Regional Elections, until after the ballots in that district are recounted.

He pointed out that a final declaration can only be made unless and until the recount is done in accordance with the provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Speaking with reporters after meeting with Chief Justice Roxane George this morning at the Diamond Magistrates’s Court, Nandlall said that this move was triggered after his party’s request for a recount of the votes cast in Region 4 was refused by GECOM.

The declaration which was made by Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo was described by Nandlall as “part of an illicit, illegal design.”

However, he said that some minutes into the court hearing, Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Mia Mottley, who is also the Prime Minister of Barbados, via a press statement, said that a team will shortly arrive in Guyana to supervise the recount of the Region Four votes.

Mottley said that following the declaration last evening, President David Granger made a request for CARICOM to field an independent high-level team to supervise the re-counting of the ballots in Region Four in accordance with the ruling Chief Justice made on March 11, 2020. Mottley said that this was agreed to by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.

Nandlall said as a result, the court adjourned for a few minutes to permit GECOM’s lawyers Senior Counsel Neil Boston , Robin Hunte, and Roysdale Forde as well as three government commissioners to acquaint themselves with the statement.

“During the recess, the Chairperson [of GECOM retired Judge Claudette Singh] was informed by telephone by the General Counsel of CARICOM that the statement was in fact issued. By this time, the three government commissioners had left the courtroom.”

He added that even when the court resumed, lawyers for GECOM maintained that they were unaware of the statement. It was at this juncture, he said, the Chief Justice enquired from Singh of GECOM’s position in relation to matters contained in the statement. He disclosed that the retired Judge told the court that the commission will convene a meeting to facilitate the recount of ballots for that electoral district.

He said he is very satisfied by GECOM’s move . He also said, “This is a political situation. While we are trying to get it legally addressed, one cannot turn a blind eye to the political realities that are operating in the circumstances.”

“And if the politicians in their wisdom have come to a political solution then it is incumbent upon GECOM to facilitate and not frustrate that process. Of course, within the confines of the law, the recount is a mandatory facility under the law.”

The former Attorney General continued, “So the CARICOM did not agree to something that is not provided for in the laws; it is mandatory once the request is made within the time prescribed. It cannot be refused and the statement from CARICOM simply consolidates that position; it is not a political position that conflicts with the law.”

In the meantime, the court matter has been adjourned until Monday.


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