Nandlall, Mendes urge Chancellor to set a date for decision in election petition appeal

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In calling on Guyana’s Court of Appeal to bring an end to hearings in an appeal filed to have a dismissed election petition reinstated, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has accused Attorney and Opposition Parliamentarian Roysdale Forde of wasting the court’s time.

Joined by Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, Nandlall urged Chancellor Yonnette Cummings Edwards on Tuesday to set a date for the Court of Appeal to hand down its decision in the case.

In brief oral remarks, Nandlall said “we are really going around in circles.” He feared that if a date is not set soon for decision then the matter will remain in an already clogged system for longer than it needed to.

Nandlall was responding to a request by Forde for more time to file additional submissions in the case, something that Mendes objected to. He claims that Forde was not addressing the issue at hand in his written submissions, but introducing new points and scenarios.

The discussions now surround whether the dismissed petition should have been appealed to the Full Court of the High Court instead of the Appellate Court, given the peculiar tier system of Guyana’s court structure.

Nandlall and Mendes have maintained that the petition should have never been appealed and neither does the Full Court or the Appellate Court have jurisdiction.

They have both argued orally and in written submissions that the question, although of interest, is not one that is necessary at this stage.

According to Mendes, the petition (#99) was dismissed on procedural grounds and as such it cannot be appealed.

Mendes’ point was further elucidated by Nandlall who said that there can only be an appeal after a determination of a matter and there was none in this case.

It is for this reason that the lawyers have argued that the question on whether the matter should have been appealed to the Full Court is of no consequence because no appeal, whether to the Full Court or the Court of Appeal, should be entertained because of the reason for which the petition was dismissed.

Petition #99 was dismissed because former President, David Granger, was not served within the required five-day timeline to do so.

Cummings Edwards had said previously that when the case continues on October 26, arguments in the petition should wrap up but that was not achieved on Tuesday.

After hearing from Forde, Mendes and Nandlall, the Chancellor said she believed the matter of one of national importance and all parties needed to be heard.

She set November 26, 2021 for reports after which she will further consider the submissions and set a date for ruling.

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