The Court of Appeal today reserved its decision against the ruling of Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire to dismiss the case by the opposition to invalidate the results of the 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Arguments from both sides concluded with various points being raised on not only what occured on March 2020, but also issues with the elections process.
Previously, the petitioners Heston Bostwick and Claudette Thorne posited that the results of the 2020 General and Regional Elections should have been annulled due to what they claim was a disregard for electoral laws. The duo also submitted that the court order that made way for the highly publicized recount process had no legal effect and as such was invalid in nature.
Today, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde in his final submission to the Appeal Court said Section 22 of the Election Laws Act, which paved the way for the recount, had conflicted with what was in the Constitution, and as such, made the recount process unconstitutional. Forde posited that it is the responsibility of the Parliament of Guyana to formulate legislative policy and not the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that made the decision to conduct the recount process.
Before the panel of judges, Forde submitted, “The power to issue orders to modify Electoral Laws…constitute an abdication of part or portion of the constitutional authority conferred on the Parliament of Guyana by the Constitution to pass laws in accordance with Articles 65 and 170 in respect of the Electoral System.”
Forde explained that the conferral of the plenary legislative power on GECOM is unconstitutional. “It is our submission that Article 160 (3) (a) (4) of the Constitution provides that Parliament by our Constitution is conferred with the authority and an exclusive authority to enact legislation if it so desires to determine the manner in which the election shall be held.”
Forde argued that Article 160 (3) (a) (4) is not an ordinary plenary legislative power but a constitutional one. He told the Court that Section 22 therefore encroaches upon the Constitution.
Back in 2020, following the recount process, President Irfaan Ali was declared President of Guyana. The APNU+AFC is seeking to nullify the results on the basis that the recount was illegal.