APNU+AFC to use Observation Reports in elections petition but still withholds SOPs
The APNU+AFC Coalition, now in Opposition after serving a limited term in government, continues to insist that the March 02 2020 election which resulted in it losing power was fraudulently conducted.
During a virtual press briefing on Thursday, Coalition Member of Parliament and Attorney at Law Roysdale Forde said the APNU+AFC is eager to present its compelling case in court even as he insisted on the merit of the petition.
Forde was speaking two days after Chief Justice Roxanne George announced October 22, 2020 as the date for a case management hearing.
At that hearing set for next Thursday, a date for the commencement of trial is expected to be set, with Forde hoping that it will commence in coming weeks.
Already, Forde says that he expects both petitions before the Court to be heard and determined within six to eight months.
He said there is no need for an extensive period for evidence gathering because the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has already engaged in a process that provided the evidence.
That process he referred to is the recount exercise which was conducted by GECOM and where Forde insists that irregularities and anomalies were unearthed.
He said the Coalition will rely on the observation reports from the recount to prove its case that the elections lacked credibility.
“I believe that the petitions are meritorious even the mere reading of them you will see its I based on solid facts and contentions which are supported by documents in the recount process,” Forde explained.
Forde was backed up its in contention by fellow Parliamentarian Amanza Walton- Desir who said that the merit of the petitions should no longer be questioned but rather it should be a question on how quickly the petitions will be heard and determined.
“It is not the merit that is in dispute, it is that anomalies and irregularities were discovered,” she explained.
Walton-Desir recalled that there was an admission by the Chairman of GECOM, Justice (retired) Claudette Singh, that irregularities were unearthed but that as Chair of GECOM she does not have the power to resolve them.
It is in this vein that they both insisted that with the use of information and documentation from the recount that the elections petition will succeed.
But although it intends to use the observation reports from the recount the Coalition is still withholding the the copies of the Statements of Polls.
Forde again said on Thursday that based on what the Court is being asked to determine the Coalition will not rely on its SOPs.
But it is the declarations based on those SOPs that the Coalition wants the elections to be declared on or for the Court to order fresh elections in 90 days.
Forde reminded that having commenced and completed the Recount, Singh on July 13th set aside the Declarations of Returning Officers and later used the recount figures to declare the People’s Progressive Party as the winner.
To this end, he insists that the Recount was illegal and expects the Court to determine and declare that the Elections were not held in conformity with the law in relation to Elections.
The APNU+AFC is confident that the Elections Petitions will succeed in vitiating the March 02 2020 General and Regional Elections.