The lawyers, who represented the petitioners challenging the validity of the March 2 General and Regional Elections results, have themselves to blame for failure, says Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall. The AG was referring to elections petition 99/2020 that was thrown out by the Chief Justice (CJ), Roxane George on January 18, 2021.
The CJ dismissed the petition after it was found that there was non-adherence by the petitioners to satisfy prerequisites that relate to serving necessary documentation to respondents within the stipulated time. Former President, David Granger was served beyond the parameters of what was stipulated.
The petition was filed by Monica Thomas of Lot 58 North Street, Lodge, Georgetown, and Bernnan Joette Natasha Nurse of Lot N16-1079 Critchlow Street, Tucville, Georgetown. This petition deals with allegations of voters’ impersonation and anomalies, which were raised by the party during the national vote recount. Among other things, the petitioners wanted an order to declare the elections null and void as it violates the Constitution, the Representative of the People Act and Order 60. They are also asking to nullify President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s declaration as the winner of the elections.
The AG said that the lawyers should admit they “mucked up” the case by not meeting “elementary” requirements and stop “making excuses” by “cussing down” the CJ.
“Rather than accept the responsibility as leaders for mucking up the case by failing to comply with the timeframes as stipulated by the law, by failing to competently perform their functions as lawyers, they are on the television and on Facebook trying a cheap hustle – cheap propagandistic escapades: cussing the Chief Justice and busing the Chief Justice. That will not change the decision. They have failed their people, and they have failed their constituents by their incompetence,” the AG said.
He noted that while some have opined that the CJ should have looked past that blunder, election laws would have never allowed that to happen.
“Election laws are rigid; it brokers no exceptions; [and] suffers no exception. Once there is an infraction of a procedure, or a timeframe, or some document that was supposed to have been filed and served and was not filed and served, then it is fatal…The court ruled to dismiss that petition, and they are now, every hour on television trying to fault the law, trying to trivialize the case: “Oh, it’s a small mistake”, “the judge shouldn’t have done that”, or “the judge was wrong”. Whether it is a small mistake or not, in election law it is fatal – that is the law!” Nandlall stressed.
The Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon has since announced that the petition will be appealed. As for petition 88/2020, he noted that the coalition will pursue that with ‘unrelenting vigour’.