Court of Appeal to hear elections results case Saturday

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The Court of Appeal will Saturday morning hear oral submissions from representatives of several political parties in the matter seeking to prevent the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield from complying with the direction he has received to present a report of the results of the national vote recount to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

No injunctions or orders were Friday granted by the Court when the matter first came up.

The applicant in the case, Eslyn David, did not even apply for any injunctions.

So practically, GECOM can go ahead and do its work and nothing prevents the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield from submitting his report of the results of the national vote recount and nothing prevents the Commission from meeting to declare those results.

Lowenfield Thursday refused to submit his report, saying the notice he received that the court proceedings had been filed prevented him from submitting his report, but that is not the case. No order was granted to prevent him from doing so.

The Chair of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, postponed a scheduled meeting today because the Court was due to meet today.

Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield

The presiding judges are Brassington Reynolds, Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory-Barnes. Justice Gregory-Barnes, along with the Chancellor, had last year ruled that 33 was not the majority of 65 in the National Assembly, but that decision was upturned at the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Several appearances were made on Friday when the matter was called.

All respondents in the matter were given until 18:00h to email their written submissions to the Court.

Attorneys Mayo Robertson, along with John Jeremy and George Scotland, both from Trinidad and Tobago, representing the applicant, were given until 06:00h Saturday to make an electronic submission.

Robertson asked specifically to make his final submission after submissions from all respondents.

Ms David is seeking to prevent GECOM from making a declaration of the results from the recently completed recount exercise which were certified for all ten districts as valid and showing a victory for the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

A skeleton submission on behalf of the applicant has already been submitted and seen by the Court.

Justice Gregory-Barnes ordered that a copy of that submission be sent to the other respondents in the case.

When the Court resumes Saturday morning, each of the parties will have 30 minutes to make their oral submissions.

Justice Gregory-Barnes said the Court does not expect to hear a variety of the same submissions from all the parties. She said the Court was concerned about time to the extent that it will limit the submissions it hears.

Following the hearing, the Court will notify of when it will make its ruling.

GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield along with its Chairman, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh was present along with the elections body Attorney, Excellence Dazzle. They all sat quietly without making any appearances or submissions. The GECOM Commissioners and Lowenfield did not have legal representation but Kim Kyte appeared for the GECOM Chairman.

Basil Williams appeared in his capacity as Attorney General and was accompanied by  Maxwell Edwards.

Appearing on behalf of Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo, the People’s Progressive Party and its Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali were Attorneys Devindra Kissoon, Sanjeev Datadin and Douglas Mendes.

Attorneys Ralph Ramkarran and Timothy Jonas appeared for A New and United Guyana, the New Movement and the Liberty and Justice Party.

Kashir Khan, Mohamed Khan and Vishka Puran appeared on behalf of Ally Kindie, Change Guyana and Shazam Ally of The Citizenship Initiative.

The case was heard via Zoom at the Court of Appeal. Only limited media houses were allowed inside in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines.

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