The much anticipated Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the March 2020 General and Regional Elections may not see the participation of the Opposition. This was hinted at on Tuesday by Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton during his weekly press conference.

It was Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo last week during an interview on social media who called on the Opposition to lay its facts pertaining to the turbulent event at the feet of the commission. Jagdeo further encouraged the opposition to present their statement of polls to substantiate their claims of there being voter fraud in the 2020 elections.

Jagdeo during the interview posited that the current administration is confident of its case against the opposition that has tried to prove its case by way of the judicial system.

But on Tuesday, Norton was asked by the Guyana Standard about the party’s evidence and whether or not any other substantial evidence will be presented to the commission. Norton however questioned the validity of the commission.

“As I understand it in the laws of Guyana, concerns about illegality in an election are not dealt with by a Commission of Inquiry; they are dealt with by a commission. And therefore the Government’s approach of using a Commission of Inquiry is another political charade to be able to cast blame and hide their own misconduct.”

Norton further noted that the statement of polls, their main evidence, was submitted to the courts by way of a petition. The Opposition leader, when pressed for a response by this news agency about whether the party will in fact be part of the commission, said,  “We have placed in petition 99 all the evidence. Jagdeo is not that dumb he would have read it and he knows it, and he can put it before the commission […] We have already said it is a charade. While the President has the authority. It is not the way to deal with elections. It should be by way of an election petition.”

President Irfaan Ali last month announced that the commission will be chaired by retired Justice of Appeal from Trinidad and Tobago, Justice Stanley John. The commission will inquire into and report upon the relevant circumstances and events leading up to, and the procedures following, the Regional and General Elections.

The CoI will begin hearing arguments on November 3, 2022.


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