Former Speaker of the National Assembly and Presidential Candidate of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, has submitted to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), that the laws of Guyana do not permit Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield to make a judgment on the credibility of votes.
Senior Counsel Ramkarran was at the time making submissions on behalf of ANUG and several small political parties that contested the March 02 General and Regional elections for which, almost four months later, GECOM is yet to declare a final result.
Addressing the CCJ on the report in which Lowenfield invalidated some 115, 000 votes cast in those elections, Ramkarran argued that the Chief Elections Officer used the ruling of the Court of Appeal as “leave and license” to determine off his own accord, what the term of valid votes mean.
“He certainly used what he understood [the Court of Appeal] ruling to mean to take away 115, 000 votes to give APNU the win instead of the PPP/C which was declared as obtaining 15, 000 more votes than APNU based on the results of the Recount,” the Senior Counsel argued before the CCJ.
In his presentation to the regional court, Senior Counsel Ramkarran reminded that it was GECOM’s Chairperson, Retired Judge Claudette Singh who directed Lowenfield to use the figures from the Recount as the basis for his report, which had to be prepared pursuant to Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act (RoPA) and Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Guyana.
“Everything points to the Recount results being the valid results in this case,” Ramkarran noted. It is against this background, Ramkarran contended that Lowenfield interpreted the ruling of the Court of Appeal in a manner of his “own imagination.”
According to Ramkarran, Section 96 of the ROPA does not give Lowenfield the authority to make a judgment on the credibility of the votes. Senior Counsel Ramkarran pointed to Order No. 60 of 2020, which governs the Recount of all ballots cast in the elections, and argued that this Order preserves the functions of Lowenfield under Section 96 of the RoPA.
In light of the current electoral impasse, the Senior Counsel urged the CCJ to take a position on what the valid votes are, and once and for all bring a close to the disputation. If this is not done, he said that the issue will once again reach the Court for it to pronounce on the elections of Guyana