Advocates for democracy and the rule of law should not at all be disheartened by the Court of Appeal’s ruling today which, in fact, represents a loss for the APNU+AFC because all the injunctions were refused.
So said People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) aligned Attorney at Law, Charles Ramson as he noted that even though the Court of Appeal took jurisdiction to interpret the words “more votes are cast” in the Constitution and interpreted that as to mean “more valid votes are cast,” the court refused to do all of the other things the APNU+AFC sought.
Ramson pointed to the fact that the court refused to grant the injunction stopping Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield from producing the report requested by Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Claudette Singh who instructed him to use the numbers coming out of the recount. Therefore, Lowenfield is still required to act on the instruction of the Chair of GECOM to submit that report upon which a declaration by GECOM can be made.
Ramson added that the court refused to elevate Lowenfield to be the person to determine what a valid vote; that remains the constitutional responsibility of GECOM. “And GECOM has already made that decision when the tabulation was done. The Recount Certificates, as well as the District Certificates, said ‘valid votes.’ Then the Chairperson’s decision to request that Lowenfield uses the numbers coming out of the recount confirmed those votes to be valid. We also knew that one cannot be elected with invalid votes.”
Ramson noted that in the recount process, some votes were determined invalid “for reasons within the law, like having ink on the paper, those votes were not counted. All the tabulated votes are valid.”
The lawyer said that GECOM should meet immediately to discuss the Court of Appeal’s ruling and to declare the result of the election based on the tabulated votes that have been certified at the tabulation center during the recount process.
“GECOM should now meet and review that report to make sure it accords with its decision and they should then immediately make the declaration,” Ramson asserted.