Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice retired Claudette Singh, through her lawyer, Kim Kyte, has asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss a “premature” application that has put a proverbial spoke in the wheel of Guyana’s electoral process.
Before the Court of Appeal is a Notice of Motion filed by Eslyn David which, among other things, seeks an order restraining the Chief Elections Officer from complying with the Direction of the GECOM Chairman as set out in a Letter dated the 16th day of June, 2020, to submit to GECOM an Elections Report under Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana.
Singh has been named one of the respondents in the matter.
Singh asked the court to reject the Motion of Notice and permit GECOM to execute its constitutional role and functions to bring finality to the 2020 Elections.
Singh said that the law provides that once the Commission makes a decision, it cannot be impugned except by an Election Petition.
Singh has listed several cases in support of her application for dismissal and has noted, among other things that the Motion of Notice is premature and is effectively an Election Petition.
She noted too that the High Court is the only court vested with the “exclusive jurisdiction” to hear an elections petition which is only legally allowed to be brought after the completion of an election which begins with the issue of a proclamation of the election up to the issue of the result of that election.
The Chair states as well, “It is further submitted that it is only a competent Court with jurisdiction that can listen to the allegations and determine what weight they have, not GECOM and certainly not the Chief Election Officer.”
She further questioned, “If GECOM is to embark on this credibility exercise what basis should be used to determine the issues of validity and credibility? The letters from one party? The opinion of the CEO? Can GECOM just use the CEO’s opinion without giving interested parties an opportunity to be heard? Is GECOM to hold court and take evidence? The Applicant is asking GECOM to embark on a trial.”
Singh noted too that the court should not be asked to act in vain. “Even if the court grants the orders sought, what is the next position? Can this court direct GECOM what to decide? Can this court order GECOM to hold a fresh election? Are these orders even sought? The short answer is no since this is not an election court.”