Dismissed election petition: Nandlall moves to CCJ with ‘arguable’ case and ‘realistic prospect of success’

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Following through with his stated intention, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, will soon approach the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to challenge Guyana’s Court of Appeal decision on its jurisdiction to entertain the appeal regarding the dismissed election petition sponsored by the APNU+AFC Opposition.

Nandlall, in a Notice of Motion filed late Monday at the Court of Appeal’s Kingston Office, is asking the court to grant leave to move to the CCJ.

He seeks to challenge the Court’s decision where it ruled by a majority that it has jurisdiction to entertain an appeal of the decision by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George to throw out elections petition 99 on the grounds of late service, non-service or improper service.

Nandlall is also seeking an order from the Appeal Court to further stay its December 21, 2021 decision pending the appeal to the CCJ. Initially, the court had granted two weeks stay, but it expired on January 4, 2022.

According to the Attorney General, it is in the public’s interest that the proceedings before this Appeal Court be stayed pending the determination on the intended appeal by the CCJ, the final and apex court of Guyana.

In his grounds for the motion, Nandlall said, “the intended appeal is a matter of public interest which touches and concerns matters of National General and Regional Elections and as such, are proceedings of great general and public importance.”

According to Nandlall, the intended appeal is an “arguable” one with a “realistic prospect” of success on the issue.

“This Honourable Court [COA] has a duty to protect the integrity of appeals so that they are not rendered nugatory before they are heard and determined,” Nandlall said in his application.

On December 21, 2021, Justices Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justice Dawn Gregory ruled that the COA had the jurisdiction, or power, to hear an appeal into petition 99.

However, Justice Rishi Persaud ruled not to allow the appeal. During his ruling, Justice Persaud said the Chief Justice did not hear the “question” or merits of the petition but rather dismissed it on the basis of late submission, there was nothing to appeal.

On January 18, 2021, Chief Justice threw out the petition of Thomas and Nurse on procedural grounds, namely that the petition was served late to David Granger, Representative of the List for A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).

But the Chief Justice had dismissed the case because she said that from the time the petition (99 P of 2020) was served out of time on Granger it was a “non-starter.”

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