APNU Commissioners walk out of GECOM meeting
Commissioners representing the Coalition APNU+AFC on Tuesday walked out of a meeting of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) that was called after the deadline expired for the Chief Elections Officer to present a report of the results of the national vote recount for there to be a declaration and swearing-in of the PPP’s Dr Irfaan Ali as President.
The Commissioners – Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman – spoke with the media but they did not say they had walked out of the meeting but the News Room was able to confirm that they did walk out and the meeting was not suspended.
What the APNU+AFC Commissioners told the media is that it has been the practice of the Chair not to proceed with the business of the Commission once matters are filed in the court.
“We were advised, informed, in my instance when I arrived here that a matter had been filed in court and we brought it to the attention of the Chairperson that she has established a pattern, a practice, when matters are filed, she does not proceed with the business of the meeting at that particular time. And so against that background, we have not proceeded into any of the substantive issues that were before the meeting today,” Alexander stated.
It appears that at this time the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield has not presented his elections report as he was mandated to do.
People’s Progressive Party nominated GECOM Commissioner, Bibi Shadick posted on Facebook that the meeting has been adjourned to 2pm tomorrow.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had last Wednesday ruled very clearly that the results from the national vote recount cannot be set aside and must be used to declare the winner of the March 02 elections.
“Unless and until an election court decides otherwise, the votes already counted by the recount process as valid votes are incapable of being declared invalid by any person or authority,” Justice Adrian Saunders, President of the Court, said in a ruling.
The Court then said what should happen when it stated: “It is for GECOM to ensure the CEO submits a report in accordance with its direction of June 16 in order to proceed along the path directed by the laws of Guyana.”
That June 16 direction, which has now been given twice, is for the Chief Elections Officer to prepare a report based on the results of the recount.
Justice Singh had on Monday set aside all declarations made before the national vote recount started.
It means the only valid figures on the record are those from the recount. Accordingly, the chair instructed Lowenfield for the third time to submit a report which will be used to declare the results.
However, someone named Misenga Jones, in an application filed by attorney Mayo Robertson has moved to the court seeking a declaration that the chair and the Commission have not complied with the constitutionally stated process as outlined in Article 177(2)(b) of the Constitution.
That part of the Constitution says the party with more votes wins the elections and that the chair of the GECOM will declare the results based on the advice of the Chief Elections Officer.
The applicant is seeking a declaration from the Court that the chair has failed to declare the results of the elections in accordance with the advice given by Lowenfield.
In the two reports he submitted so far, Lowenfield acted unlawfully, the CCJ found, by dumping 115,000 votes. The CCJ also said the only results that are valid at this time are those from the recount.
But in his second report, Lowenfield did not use those recount figures and instead used figures which included the exact figures from a March 13 declaration in District Four that was largely dismissed as being fraudulent.
Jones is contending that GECOM has no authority to declare any person as President except in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer tended in his report pursuant to Section 96(1) of the Representation Act.
The Chief Justice will call a first hearing of the case at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.