Jagdeo ‘reasonably confident’ of securing injunction to stop House to House registration

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Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo says he is “reasonably confident” of securing an injunction against Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield to stop the house to house registration exercise which began Saturday.

Jagdeo in an invited comment said, “I am reasonably confident.”

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said the exercise will last from July 20 to October 20, 2019, paving the way for a new list of electors by October 31. This can see the Commission ready to hold elections by the end of November as was proposed by former Chair of the Commission, Justice (retired) James Patterson.

However, Jagdeo referred to a comment made by Stanley Marcus, the Attorney who represented GECOM in cases relating to the No-Confidence Motion before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) recently.

Attorney Marcus told the court that a new list of electors will be ready until December 25, pushing National elections to 2020.

“The court on July 12th ordered that elections be held in accordance with article 106 of constitution, that is three months. That order was binding on GECOM which was a party to the proceedings,” the Opposition Leader said.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wants elections by September 18, three months from the June 18th ruling of the CCJ which validated the No-Confidence motion.

Mr. Jagdeo argued that the Chief Elections Officer’s pursuit of house-to-house registration using an order signed on June 11 by the former GECOM Chair is an act in contempt of the court.

“Mr Lowenfield’s pursuit of using an Order secretly gazetted and dated June 11th, which was overtaken by the ruling of the CCJ and against the advice of GECOM’s legal officer, is contemptuous of the CCJ’s order,” he said.

The Opposition Leader pointed out that the Commission is not functioning and the house to house registration exercise is being done without the involvement of the opposition which is a major stakeholder.

“He has taken it upon himself to make this decision all on his own and in the absence of a functioning Elections Commission.”

Jagdeo had explained that the process requires scrutineers from the political parties and the PPP has not been asked to make such persons available.

“This activity is being done, unverified by the scrutineers from the opposition. Can we allow the action of a single individual, by ignoring the Order of the country’s highest court and the constitution, to put at risk peace and stability in Guyana?

“The Local courts have a duty to uphold the ruling of the CCJ.

“And everyone including the international community – excepting a few in government – is clear what those orders are. That’s why I am optimistic,” he added.

The Opposition Leader on Saturday wrote a letter to the President requesting that the Head of State and Cabinet resign forthwith and that a date for elections be set which is not beyond September 18.

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