Guyana’s Judicial System Provides Legal Pathway to Resolution of Election Concerns

Lincoln Lewis

Submitted by Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary Guyana Trades Union Congress

The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) applauds the efforts of the CARICOM delegation to   assist Guyana during this process, notwithstanding the legal electoral challenges resulting in the CARICOM delegation leaving Guyana having not been able to conclude its mission. CARICOM Chairperson and Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. Mia Mottley, as a member of the legal fraternity, and other CARICOM leaders we are confident would appreciate the legal process being upheld. This is indicative in their expression of continued commitment to Guyana and we encourage they continue to keep an eye on our legal progress.

In the process of this legal pursuit which every party is entitled to as a means of adjudicating their grievances, GTUC asks this nation and our political leaders to lend full support to our judiciary in its deliberations. The judiciary of Guyana has distinguished itself as a credible source of power in this country, well respected in the Caribbean jurisdiction and further afield. Our legal minds, across the spectrum, have more than demonstrated capacity at all times to navigate this process or legal resolution.

This new challenge to the recounting of votes is the first of three legal challenges not filed by the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). Altogether these added to other delays making this the longest election process in the history of Guyana. This is not for us to be proud of but neither is it a shame. What it demonstrates is a commitment by both parties to operate in a lawful manner since both parties are entitled to their respective cases being heard in a court of law.  That of itself is a win for democracy and we must all be proud even as we anxiously await the end.

When law and order trumps individual, partisan and lobbying interest, Guyana wins.

GTUC calls on all parties concerned to:

  • Respect the right of both parties to exercise all legal means such as injunctions filed on their behalf since this will allow a Court to give guidance and pass judgment at any stage of the process where there is dispute.

  • Recognise GECOM Chairperson Claudette Singh S.C is on record repeatedly stating that in the execution of the electoral process she will be guided by the Constitution and Laws of Guyana and Judicature.

–   GECOM on 17th March in an effort to facilitate a recount in a duly constituted and legal manner sought the advice on the “legal ramifications” to recount the votes from Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Charles-Fung-A-Fatt-S.C (Guyana Chronicle, 18th March, 2020 ‘Chief Parliamentary counsel advises GECOM against gazzetting order for recount’)

–    Such advice was necessary because according to GECOM’s press release (17th March, 2020) the body thought “it is necessary for all the legal issues to be properly addressed including the gazetting of the process as requested by the high level Caricom delegation” to give effect to the Aide Memoire signed by Messrs. Granger and Jagdeo in the presence of CARICOM Secretary-General, H.E Irwin Larocque to pave the way for the recount

PPP/C representative Attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall’s contribution to the decision for gazetting arguing against GECOM seeking same, pushing instead for them to go ahead with the count.  As per Nandlall, “If you also look at Section 22 of the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act you will see that GECOM has a wide array of powers even to make orders, even to override legislation.” His position runs contrary to the respected legal advice provided by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Charles-Fung-A-Fatt-S.C, advised accordingly:

–          The “provision that the Order is seeking to make has the effect of amending Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act and would there be ex post facto. And that “passing the order would be making a retrospective law and that would affect the vested rights of a person under the Representation of the People Act,”

–           “An Order cannot be made under this provision because any instructions or action that the commission takes must be in compliance with the Act. This provision empowers the commission to act administratively through an interpretation of the law as it now stands and does not empower the commission in a law-making capacity to modify the law”

The nation is reminded CEO Keith Lowenfield sought to implement an administrative solution that could have prevented this current situation when he suggested the parties bring their Statements of Poll and do the verification, and “If, at the end of the day, that doesn’t work, the CEO will be involved with his statement to have a resolution to the issue.” This appeared not to have been pursued.

 The situation as it currently exists is one where patience must be exercised as all concerned parties utilise lawful means of resolving their contentions. An injunction is before the court and will be heard on Friday, 20th March.  GTUC expects the rule of law to obtain and be respected in no different manner than it has been so far in adjudicating our political and elections disputes.

Sacrificing Guyana’s peace and stability is not a price that any political party should ask our people to pay. It is not a price that any individual should seek to pay given that parties we all represent have access to the Law Courts and peaceful resolution.  As a people we must condemn political efforts from any quarter to derail or discredit the judicial system and process to arrive at a resolution.

Those who proclaim ‘uprightness’ and ‘decency’ should be held to the standards they project. They must respect the laws and call on all parties to follow its mandate.  Anyone seeking extra judicial means whether peaceful or otherwise, to resolve our difference cannot be committed to democratic practices, though they may voice this.  People of Guyana let us not be fooled.

A fight for democracy is about having the election conducted and concluded within the parameters of the laws. We have numerous examples throughout the world and as recent as 2000 in USA that these can ultimately be determined in a court of law not merely by individuals, public relations campaigns and groups with different interests. It is a fight for the rule of law to be upheld. We determine this in a court of law and abide by the decisions therein.

Finally, a resolution of our differences if not legally perused will and can result in a Guyana that our children would not benefit from. We must demand full compliance with all laws and respect for the court’s decision if we are to protect this nation and our peace, now and in the future.

24 comments

  • Bajan Free Party 2023 0r sooner

    They send 2 crooks from Barbados into Guyana to deal with voter Fraud or counting votes, These two crooks not to count another Nations votes ,These same two crooks from Barbados would love to count your oil money and put it in an offshore account, under their own names, BFP

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  • Let the Guyanese Court decide. Mike Pompeo has no right to pass judgement on what is taking place in Guyana. He is threatening all sorts of adverse actions if according to him, fraud took place. He seems to have forgotten how the US Supreme court adjudicated the election that George W. Bush won. Don’t recall there being any hue and cry. The matter is working its way through the Court. opposition has been filing injunctions and now that a private citizen has filed one, there seems to be a hue and cry. Let there be equal rights for all. Having said the above I am still supporting any effort by the Amerindians to oust these greedy interlopers.

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  • @ Robert

    Where is Caricom? Where is the president? Is she missing in action?

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  • She as usual went down with a group to over see the re-count. She has now been saying that CARICOM is withdrawing. I find it strange that she would do so..It seems that one side can file injunctions and every thing is honky-dory. When a private citizen files an injunction challenging the basis of the re-count there is foul-play suspected. The so-called bone of contention is a poll done by Peter Wickham about a year ago I think, in which he polled a swing of about eleven percent. A salient fact that Wickham seems to forget is race. There is voting along racial lines. There was a call-in program a couple of Sundays ago where it was revealed that one of journalists reported that in speaking to people in region ten ( predominately Black Guyanese with the largest population),he was constantly reminded of extra-judicial killings of blacks by death squads connected to the government of the day, where over (according to the journalist) fifteen-hundred blacks were slaughtered. It ought to be obvious that those voting for the opposition in region ten would be a small number. The bone of contention by Wickham is that it is impossible for the government side to fend off the swing. Further more he seems to think that he is infallible when it comes to polling: a person who admitted lacks mathematical ability.

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  • Felicia Doughtz

    The U.S. Legalized political bribery years ago through the Super P.A.C.s (Political Action Commitee). Essentially it is legal to lobby (bribe) politicians by donating $$$ to these P.A.C.s which funnel into politicians pockets. This is actually how industries (pharmaceutical, beef, oil), religious (Hindu) or ethnic (Indian-caribbeans/ guyanese), get Mike Pompeo or trump to tweet and support their interests (PPP/c, Guyanese presidency etc). PPP/c more than likely made backdoor deals wth these intervening countries about the oil, provided they are ‘assisted’ into power. The U.S. & U.K. assisted Kamla into office because warner allegedly promised them both the World Cup bid for 2022… that’s why they came down on him hard for allegedly reneging on the deal. Also, India wants control in the caribbean & Africa through their co-ethnics there, so they definitely help indian guyanese diplomatically behind the scenes…pompeo may have been nudged to do so by modi himself.When the indigenous Fijians took back their parliament from the racist Indians there, it was later revealed that Rajiv Gandhi (Indira’s Son) wanted to invade Fiji!

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  • NO PRIVATE CITIZEN INJUNCTION
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    APNU+AFC candidate gets injunction to block CARICOM vote recount

    High Court judge Franklyn Holder has granted an injunction restraining the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from authorising a recount of ballots cast at the March 2 elections based on the agreement between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

    The interim injunction, which was among four granted yesterday afternoon, effectively places a halt on any attempts at a recount of the ballots cast at the regional and general elections.

    An independent high-level team from CARICOM had flown-in over the weekend to supervise the recount of ballots due to controversy over the tabulation of the votes cast for Region Four, which opposition parties as well as international and local observers say was not done in a transparent manner.

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/18/news/guyana/apnuafc-candidate-gets-injunction-to-block-caricom-vote-recount/

    Like

  • Dentistry Whisperer (M. Pharm. D) LinkedIN

    To Barbados: Monkey see, monkey do. While most people (world wide) want to distant themselves from Corona Virus, Barbadians seem to feel they “have arrived” now that they are riding in the slip stream of the U.S.  

    Like

  • Interesting comment from Chair of Caricom Mia Mottley that there are forces in Guyana who do not want to upset the result of the General Election.

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  • @ David March 19, 2020 9:04 AM

    So the private citizen should not file an injunction? By filing an injunction there is devious intentions? All Guyanese should have the rights to a fair hearing under the law. There is a presumption that Wickham is infallible. Because he polled a swing some time ago, any reversal of the swing is therefore suspect? The returning officer has called the election in favor of the government. End of story.

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  • @ Robert
    Isn’t the economics professor who advises the president a Guyanese? Is there backdoor influence?

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  • @Dr. Lucas

    You have assumed that it is the the recent action by a private citizen that provoked the comment? Also you do not give her credit that she is more informed than arm chair critics?

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  • @ Hal March 19, 2020 4:45 PM
    I do not know.

    @ David March 19, 2020 5:55 PM
    Based on what? As I have stated previously, the Canadian government seems to be involved with that fellow jumping ship fortunately, the courts are involved now. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Lets hear the private citizen injunction. Where was CARICOM when Denzil Douglas was doing his own thing.

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  • @Dr. Lucas

    Guyana’s problems didn’t start yesterday. We all know this is a hotmess fueled by racial and political divide.

    Here what man what.

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  • @Robert lucas

    STOP SPREADING FALSEHOOD.

    THE PRIVATE CITIZEN YOU HAVE MENTIONED WHO FILED INJUNCTION IS A CANDIDATE OF THE APNU-AFC WHO GECOM AIDED IN THIS CORRUPTED PROCESS WHICH HAS BEEN CHALLENGED INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF GUYANA.

    THE FACT THAT THE INDIVIDUAL IS A CANDIDATE WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT FROM FRAUD IS DIFFERENT TO A PRIVATE CITIZEN WHO IS SEEKING WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG.

    YOU ARE GUYANESE SO YOU MAY NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

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  • @Baje March 19, 2020 9:06 PM

    I merely reported what was in the press ,namely that a private citizen brought the injunction. Are you telling me that if what you are claiming is correct, that the person in a capacity as a private citizen cannot file an injunction? What are the supporters of the PPP/c doing? Aren’t they filing injunctions left, right and center? Aren’t they going to benefit if the PPP/C gets the government? You are by the logic you use inferring that only the government candidate(according to you, I haven’t seem anything in the local press backing your assertion) stands to benefit and not the opposition backers who are also filing injunctions.

    I am Barbadian. If I want Guyanese citizenship .I can get it since my dad was born and raised in Guyana. Get your facts correct before jumping to conclusions. You are so warp in your rabid outlook to anyone who differs from you ,that you are making incorrect assertions. I have constantly alluded to the fact that the Amerindians should rise up and eject both sets out of their country.

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  • @robert lucas

    You are by the logic you use inferring that only the government candidate(according to you, I haven’t seem anything in the local press backing your assertion) stands to benefit and not the opposition backers who are also filing injunctions.

    I am Barbadian. If I want Guyanese citizenship .I can get it since my dad was born and raised in Guyana. Get your facts correct before jumping to conclusions. You are so warp in your rabid outlook to anyone who differs from you ,that you are making incorrect assertions.
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    APNU+AFC candidate gets injunction to block CARICOM vote recount

    High Court judge Franklyn Holder has granted an injunction restraining the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from authorising a recount of ballots cast at the March 2 elections based on the agreement between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/18/news/guyana/apnuafc-candidate-gets-injunction-to-block-caricom-vote-recount/

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    I AM SURE YOU CAN READ WHAT WAS PRINTED IN SEVERAL GUYANA LOCAL PAPERS ABOVE.

    I AM NOT LIKE YOU WHO CHOOSES TO MISLEAD AND PERSISTS WITH IGNORANCE..

    YOU CAN CALL ME ANYTHING BUT NOT A LIAR AND BULLSHITTER.

    I DEAL ONLY WITH FACTS AND TRUTH.

    I ALSO COULDN’T CARELESS WHO WINS IN GUYANA BUT IT AMAZES ME THE LEVEL OF DISHONESTY I SEE BEING EXHIBITED AND CONDONED.

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  • @ Baje March 20, 2020 3:01 AM

    Your logic leaves a lot to be desired. You have not refuted what is obvious that there are gains to be made by both sides and that the private citizen has the right to file injunctions.. Using upper case letters prove what?

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  • SO SAID BY A CURRENT RULING MEMBER OF THE GUYANA GOVERNMENT:

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    Region Four results… I don’t buy Mingo’s numbers; who vex, vex! – Dominic Gaskin

    Former Business Minister and Director of Business, Dominic Gaskin, has publicly stated that he does not “buy” the numbers used by District Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, in his recent declaration and called for a full investigation into the wrongdoings at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

    In a statement posted on his Facebook page last evening, Gaskin expressed his displeasure that it has been 18 days since Guyana went to the March 2, 2020 polls to cast their ballots and no declaration has been made.
    This, he said, was a “relatively simple exercise” for Guyanese to “elect a government of their choice.”
    According to him, the declaration made by Mingo on Thursday, 5th March for District Four, the largest district, was immediately rejected based on the procedural grounds and the fact that it lacked transparency.
    To this, Gaskin said, “I too have taken a position (personal) on the Mingo Declaration – I don’t buy his numbers.

    https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2020/03/21/region-four-results-i-dont-buy-mingos-numbers-who-vex-vex-dominic-gaskin/

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  • DESPERATION MEASURES BY GECOM AND CO-CONSPIRATORS

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    The key to understanding why the ballot boxes were removed

    Anyone with a modicum of comprehension had to reject the police request to Giftland to move its surveillance cameras from pointing in the direction of the Arthur Chung Convention Centre and the Giftland access road. It made absolutely no sense, since the cameras provided security to all stakeholders involved in the protection of the ballot boxes housed in large containers.

    Of course, I don’t think the police would have made that request on their own, since obviously it was in relation to the ballot boxes. My thinking is that the edict came from GECOM, and certainly not from a statutory meeting of the commission, since there was no announcement of that. Shadowy figures keep lurking behind the coattail of GECOM.
    Who was afraid of the cameras on the boxes? My guess is that persons who had an interest in tampering with the ballots. We have gone through too much of comical and barefaced tampering with the statements of polls to shut out that idea. This is my guess, and I cannot think of further speculation, because none is coming to mind.

    Yesterday the containers were removed and taken back to GECOM head office. No one from the ten opposition parties and the local and international observers were notified. In fact, a panic situation emerged, because persons keeping an eye on the items, hurried on their phones to inform opposition officials and a quick entourage was formed to follow the trucks.

    What is going to happen now?
    This is my thinking. We are coming to the end of the election saga. Here is what I opine will happen in the next few days. GECOM will invite stakeholders to witness the recounting of Region 4 ballots only. The recount will add to the tally of the nine declared regions and point to a statistical victory for APNU+AFC, who will secure a one-seat majority.

    https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2020/03/21/the-key-to-understanding-why-the-ballot-boxes-were-removed/

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  • Ballot boxes moved without notice from Arthur Chung centre to GECOM HQ
    -party representatives riled

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    One day after political parties called for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to facilitate the security of the ballots cast on March 2, 2020 by ensuring all were stored at a central location, the secretariat has relocated the containers with the ballot boxes from the Arthur Chung Convention Centre to its High and Cowan streets office.

    The action was however executed without notice to the contesting parties and questions to GECOM on the matter have been met with silence. It is also unclear what provisions have been made to enable political parties to be assured of the security of the containers, which are seen as pivotal in settling the outcome of the elections

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/21/news/guyana/ballot-boxes-moved-without-notice-from-arthur-chung-centre-to-gecom-hq/

    Like

  • Alleged instruction on Giftland security cameras raises eyebrows

    Chairman of the Giftland Group of Companies, Roy Beepat has alleged that he was told on Thursday by a police rank that any of Giftland Mall’s security cameras focusing on the Arthur Chung Convention Centre at Liliendaal was “illegal.”

    In a statement on Thursday, Beepat said he was informed by a member of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) that if any of the mall’s security cameras are “pointing” at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre and the access roads, it is “illegal.”

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/21/news/guyana/alleged-instruction-on-giftland-security-cameras-raises-eyebrows/

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  • PPP/C, three other parties added to recount case

    Representatives of the opposition PPP/C and three of the new parties that contested the March 2 general and regional elections were yesterday successful in their bid to be added as litigants in the lawsuit filed by APNU+AFC candidate Ulita Grace Moore, who has moved to halt a recount of ballots cast at the polls.

    Following in-chamber hearings at the High Court yesterday, Justice Franklyn Holder granted the request of representatives of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), The New Movement (TNM), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and A New and United Guyana (ANUG) to be added to the proceedings.

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/03/21/news/guyana/ppp-c-three-other-parties-added-to-recount-case/

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  • Twenty–two days after the Regional and General elections were held in Guyana, lawyers are continuing to argue before the High Court on issues related to an application filed against a recount.
    The case to stop the recount was filed by APNU – AFC candidate Ulita Moore. The matter is being heard by Justice Franklyn Holder at the High Court in Georgetown.
    Yesterday, lawyers involved in the matter continued to present arguments over a request by Leader of the Opposition People Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Bharrat Jagdeo for the Statements of Polls produced to Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield for the March 2, 2020 to be laid over to the Court.

    https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2020/03/25/22-days-later-lawyers-argue-over-courts-jurisdiction-in-elections-recount-case/

    Like

  • Dentistry Whisperer (M. Pharm. D) LinkedIN

    Thanks Cheryl. I hope you are keeping well and maintaining your 2 metre space (lol). My reason for the e-mail was to question what she (Joanne) knew, way back then, and intended to successfully broadside Kerrie Simmonds and Marsha Caddle by closing three upscale restaurants, knowing that Corona virus would be coming. If so, she is in the wrong business and I would suggest she should hang her “shingle” as a financial planner. Kindest regards Haynes Darlington.

       

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