APNU+AFC urge ‘quick hearing’ of Election Petition but insists its SOPs not relevant
The APNU+AFC coalition on Monday filed its election petition in the High Court, officially challenging the outcome of the March 02, 2020 elections from which the People’s Progressive Party emerged victorious.
Ultimately, the Coalition wants the Supreme Court, after hearing its petition, to cancel those polls which saw it losing the seat of Government and order fresh polls within 90 days.
But more importantly, the APNU+AFC wants a quick and expedited hearing of its petition which was filed on Monday.
Following the filing of the petition, former President and Leader of the APNU+AFC coalition David Granger spoke to members of the media outside of the High Court and said the coalition as confident it had enough evidence to prove that the elections were poorly managed and lacked credibility.
“We are set out here today to establish the invalidity of the declaration… we have documented anomalies in all ten regions…If these anomalies and irregularities are taken into consideration we will prove that the results will be different,” a confident Mr Granger said.
Joined by other senior members of his coalition, Mr Granger and the coalition by extension is claiming, among other things, that there were stuffed ballot boxes, missing documents, more votes than voters, ghost voting and voter impersonation.
“The evidence is overwhelming that these elections were rigged and the PPP, the beneficiary of the rigging is a fraudulent regime… the petition filed today will prove this in the court and they will have no option but to vitiate the elections,” Joseph Harmon, the incoming Leader of the Opposition said.
Harmon was also joined by Attorney at Law Roysdale Forde, SC, who is among the four attorneys representing the two applicants Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick, both residents of Georgetown.
The filing attorneys are Forde, along with Trinidad Senior Counsel John Jeremie, Raphael Trotman (who is also Chairman of the opposition party AFC), and Olayne Joseph.
It was Forde who insisted that the coalition will not be providing its Statements of Polls (SOPs), saying it was not relevant to what the APNU+AFC was asking the court to determine.
“As we have said repeatedly the elections was not decided on Statements of Poll; it was decided on the recount and if we are challenging the results of the elections it must be on the basis of the recount and those documents,” Forde added.
Asked specifically whether the coalition will produce its original SOPs, Forde repeated that “it is not relevant to the issues we are asking the courts to determine.
Forde said he is concerned that political interference will serve to thwart the early hearing of the matter and called for a quick and expedited hearing.
Asked specifically about the elections petition filed by the PPP in 2015 which has not been heard, Harmon said he believes the petition filed Monday can be heard ahead of the 2015 petition by the PPP.
He along with Forde said the coalition is also interested in a clean voters list ahead of any future elections to be held in Guyana.
If they succeed in their case, the petitioners are seeking orders from the court to declare that elections were so badly held that the results from it cannot be deemed to be the will of the people. At the same time, they want the Court to throw out the elections and have David Granger declared as President under those very elections they claim were conducted against the electoral laws and constitution of the country.
The petitioners want the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to use the vote count from the Ten Returning Officers to declare the results of the elections. That would include the District Four vote Count which has been condemned as fraudulent.
The petitioners contend that the Chief Elections Officer was not required to use the data from the national vote recount to produce his elections report from which the results were declared.
Alternatively, the petitioners want the Court to order fresh elections in 90 days after its ruling on the case.
The respondents named are Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, representative of APNU+AFC David Granger, representative of the Federal United Party Horatio Edmonson, representative of the PPP Bharrat Jagdeo, representative of the Liberty and Justice Party John Flores, representative of the New Movement Asha Kissoon, Representative of the United Republican Party Vishnu Bandhu, representative of Change Guyana Abedin Ali, representative of the Peoples Republican Party Patrick Bourne, representative of A New and United Guyana Jonathan Bourne, representative of The Citizenship Initiative Shazaam Aly and representative of Organisation for Victory of the People Gerald Perreira.