Refrain from acts, remarks that could incite hostility, violence – UN urges political leaders, supporters

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The United Nations Resident Coordinator Mikiko Tanaka has urged that there be peace as the country awaits a decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that could pave the way for the long-awaited declaration of the results of the general and regional elections held four months ago.

“As the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice is awaited, we call on all political leaders and their supporters to remain patient and refrain from acts and remarks that could incite hostility or violence,” Tanaka said in a statement.

She added: “I would like to reiterate the United Nations’ commitment to continue to support the people of Guyana.”

The CCJ will rule Wednesday in the case brought before it seeking to quash the Court of Appeal decision to interpret Article 177 (2) of the Constitution. The Court of Appeal in a 2-1 decision had ruled that when the Constitution determined that it is the party with “more votes are cast” wins the elections what the Constitution means is “more ‘valid’ votes are cast.”

The two judges – Dawn Gregory-Barnes and Brassington Reynolds – saw the need to insert the word “valid” because in their view the legal order that allowed for a national vote recount undertook to resolve questions regarding the credibility of the elections.

The ruling by the Court of Appeal set off a perverse interpretation by the caretaker Coalition APNU+AFC which claims that only the votes Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield deems to be valid, or votes which it did not question during the national vote recount, should be used to determine the basis of the results for the elections.

The fears of the opposition that Lowenfield would actually use the decision of the Court of Appeal to produce a fraudulent report were confirmed when he, Lowenfield, on June 23 wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to say that he acted under the guidance of the Court of Appeal decision and prepared a report of the results of the elections with the necessary allocation of seats.

Lowenfield’s report was a betrayal of the instructions he had received from the Chair of the Elections Commission.

He was instructed to prepare a report based on the results of the national vote recount, which showed the PPP beat APNU+AFC by 15, 416 votes.

But Lowenfield’s June 23 report dumped 115,000 votes and handed a win to APNU+AFC a win with 33 seats in the 65-seat National Assembly. To this date, no one knows how he arrived at his new figures.

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