Petitioners appeal CJ’s dismissal of APNU+AFC election petition
A January 18, 2021, decision by Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, SC, in which she dismissed one of the APNU+AFC’s election petition (99/P) for procedural non-compliance of service on former President David Granger, has been appealed by the petitioners.
A Notice of Appeal was filed on February 24, 2021, by Attorney-at-law and APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Roysdale Forde, in which he represented petitioners, Monica Thomas and Brennan Joette Natasha Nurse.
The petitioners have expressed dissatisfaction at the decision and are now asking for it to be set aside by the Court of Appeal. They contended that the Chief Justice erred on several grounds when handing down her ruling, including that she misdirected herself when she applied the doctrine of strict compliance with service of affidavit in a timely manner.
The Notice of Appeal also noted that an error was made when Justice George failed to consider the overriding objective of the petition in making her decision on the content of the affidavit of service.
However, with two petitions filed, the Chief Justice in her January 18 ruling agreed to go ahead with one of those petitions (88/P) as the Coalition continues its challenge of the results of the March 02, 2020 general and regional elections. The petitioners in 88/P are Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick, both residents of Georgetown.
Justice George reasoned that because Granger was not served within the required five-day timeline for doing so, and he has been found to be a necessary party in the proceedings, petition 99/P was declared a nullity and dismissed.
Although Granger has been determined to be a necessary party in both petitions, the CJ observed that the petitioners in petition 88/P fully complied with all procedures for service and as such, that petition will proceed.
The High Court, sitting as an Election Court, determined from the evidence before it that Granger was served on September 25, 2020, when he should have been served by September 21, 2020.
The APNU+AFC filed its first elections petition (88/20-P) on August 31, 2020, officially challenging the outcome of the March 02, 2020 elections and the recount exercise from which the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) emerged victorious.
A second petition (99/20-P) was field subsequently on September 15, 2020, also challenging the March 02, 2020 elections.
The petitioners want the court to declare that the 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 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 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.