The Chief Justice (CJ) Roxanne George’s ruling today, has now cleared the way for the declaration of the results and winner of the March 2 Regional and General Elections, says Opposition-nominated Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Sase Gunraj.
The CJ today pronounced on various matters in a case brought by government supporter, Misenga Jones, in which she sought to, inter alia, have the results from the declarations made by the Returning Officers (ROs), be used as the basis for the declaration of the results, and not the data derived from the national recount.
The Commissioner said that all the positions he has been advocating for – at the level of the Commission and in the public domain – have been upheld by the Court.
He said that the public posturing by many, including his fellow Commissioners, only serves to further erode confidence in the electoral process.
He added that the stern and direct comments by the Chief Justice (CJ), Roxanne George, on the several “frivolous” matters filed, and their effect to delay the outcome of the process is noted.
“Importantly, the reiteration of the fact that the Chief Election Officer (CEO) is subject to the direction and control of the Commission is very timely as we have seen the very partisan positions adopted by him in all of these matters and exhibited by his actions. Good sense should now prevail and let this come to an end. The nation deserves no less,” he said.
The court sought, amongst other things, whether it has jurisdiction to hear the application; whether Section 22 of the Elections Law Amended (ELA) pursuant to which GECOM issued Order 60 (Recount Order) is constitutional; whether Order 60, and by extension the recount results obtained therefrom, are valid such as to permit a declaration of the March 2, 2020 election results based on the said recount results; and whether the declarations of the Returning Officers for the Ten Electoral Districts made pursuant to Section 84 of the Representation of the People’s Act (ROPA) should be acted on or be set aside.
The CJ found that issues relating to the unconstitutionality of Section 22 of the ELA and invalidity of Order 60 contained in Jones’ application to be res judicata and cannot be looked into by the High Court.
She also found that Misenga Jones’ claim that the GECOM Chair, Claudette Singh acted unconstitutionally—when directing the CEO to use the recount data for his final report—to be without merit, and that the CEO is subjected to the direction and control of the Commission.
Further, she said that the10 regional declarations “cannot be resurrected at this point in time, since they were overtaken by actions which GECOM is empowered by law to enact.