Full Court throws out injunctions blocking recount

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The Full Court, comprising Chief Justice Roxane George and Justice Nareshwar  Harnanan, on Tuesday discharged the injunctions granted by the High Court Judge Franklyn Holder on March 17 in which he stopped the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from carrying out a national recount of votes cast at the March 02 general and regional elections.

In a unanimous decision, the Full Court ruled that Justice Holder made an error in determining that he can hear the case filed by APNU+AFC Candidate Ulita Moore.

Justice Holder ruled on March 27 that he can hear the case and that it would be tried, but Justices George and Harnanan found that it is not within the court’s jurisdiction to review decisions of GECOM to carry out its mandate.

According to Justices George and Harnanan, the filing of the proceedings by Moore prevented GECOM from effectively carrying out its functions to facilitate elections.

In handing down the decision, Justice George said that the entire scheme of the country’s elections law allows GECOM to resolve difficulties that arise.

Justice Holder granted the orders at the request of Moore, who was an East Coast Demerara candidate for the Coalition in the 2018 Local Government elections and a Region Four candidate for the Coalition in the March 02 elections.

He granted an order restraining GECOM from permitting or authorising any actions pursuant to the agreement initiated by the President and agreed to by the Opposition Leader for a CARICOM High-Level team to supervise the recount.

The agreement was signed Monday night. The Full Court has now vacated that order.

President David Granger and the Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had agreed to a national recount of all votes cast in the ten electoral districts.

Moore also applied for and was granted an interim order blocking the Elections Commission from setting aside the declarations made by the ten electoral districts.

An order was also made blocking the Chief Elections Officer from preparing and submitting a report to GECOM on the declarations that have been made. That order was also vacated.

Article 162 of the Constitution, the Full Court noted, gives overriding powers to GECOM to manage the elections. The Court ruled that the Constitution and Parliament gave GECOM the authority to operate independently to resolve difficulties as these may arise.

The full GECOM met and agreed that a CARICOM supervisory team would be the mechanism to address questions that arose about the tabulation of Statements of Poll to arrive at an acceptable elections result.

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