An injunction blocking a high level team by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from supervising the recount of all the ballots cast in the March 2 General and Regional Elections remains in place.
High Court Judge Franklin Holder, who granted the injunction last week, this morning heard an application from Bharrat Jagdeo, in his capacity as a representative of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), to join the judicial review proceedings, as an interested party.
The Judge will continue hearing Jagdeo’s application this afternoon. He is being represented by Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who will be heard via SKYPE, and lawyer Anil Nandlall.
He also heard and granted a similar application from three smaller parties, A New and United Guyana (ANUG) , Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM). These parties contested separately in the recently concluded elections. The parties’ lawyers are Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran and Timothy Jonas.
Lawyer Sase Gunraj, who also sits as an Opposition elections commissioner, told reporters that the application requesting a judicial review of the case will be heard sometime next week.
Last Tuesday, Grace Ulita Moore who is on the List of Candidates for the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), was granted the ex-parte injunction.
The injunction restrains the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from authorising anyone to enter an agreement between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), President David Granger and Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo for a recount of all ballots through Regions One to 10.
The injunction was granted at a time when GECOM said it was examining the legal ramifications of an agreement between the incumbent President and Jagdeo for CARICOM to oversee the recount of all ballots for the 10 electoral districts.
Earlier that day, GECOM announced that it was in receipt of a copy of the Aide Memoire that was signed by Granger and Jagdeo and witnessed by CARICOM’s Secretary General , Irwin Larocque.
Amid the court order, the High Level CARICOM team packed up and left Guyana.
The team was chaired by Francine Baron, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister of Dominica and comprise Mr. Anthony Boatswain, former Minister of Finance of Grenada and Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in Department of Government of UWI.
Also accompanying them were two Chief Election Officers from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Shortly after the team’s withdrawal, CARICOM’s Chairperson and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley issued a statement in which she said among other things, “It is clear that there are forces that do not want to see the votes recounted for whatever reason. Any Government which is sworn in without a credible and fully transparent vote count process would lack legitimacy.”
In her application, Moore listed CECOM’s, Chairperson retired judge Claudette Singh and Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield as Respondents.
The injunction blocking the supervised recount is interim, meaning that it is of limited duration, usually just until the court has had an opportunity of hearing the full case and make a final order.
As it is, Contempt of Court proceedings are looming over the head of Region Four’s Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo. The proceedings were filed after the Opposition pointed to several instances in which Mingo flouted electoral laws as it relates to the tabulation, verification and declaration of votes cast in Region 4.