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PPP/C to challenge Guyana’s Court of Appeal ruling

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PPP/C to challenge Guyana's Court of Appeal ruling

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC)— The main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) today said that it has filed an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice objecting to the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday that it has jurisdiction to hear a motion regarding the election of a president, interpreting also that “more votes” cast in the election should in effect be “more valid votes” cast. In a lengthy statement, the PPP/C, which has claimed that it won the disputed March 2 regional and general election based on the national recount of the votes cast in the election, said that “moreover, the Court of Appeal in its pronouncement has plunged the law in total confusion and it is now no longer clear how an election of members of the National Assembly is to be challenged and how the election of the president can be challenged.

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 “In fact, the Court of Appeal has wrongly ruled that these two challenges must be done separately and in different Courts. To bring clarity to the law and to guard against the Court of Appeal wrongly giving itself jurisdiction, again, to either direct the Chief Elections Officer to submit a fraudulent and perverted report, or to protect a fraudulent and perverted report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer to the Commission, we have decided to file an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice,” the PPP/C said.

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The party said that it anticipates that “this appeal will be heard and determined speedily by the Caribbean Court of Justice to enable the true results of the election be declared and Dr Irfaan Ali be sworn in as the next duly elected president of Guyana”.

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The Trinidad-based CCJ is the country’s highest court, but attorney Mayo Robertson, who was one of the lawyers representing the private citizen, Eslyn David, in her constitutional motion against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), said the chances of the opposition being successful at the CCJ are ” very slim”.

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There is no basis for an appeal. If such an attempt is made it will go nowhere because the language in the Constitution is clear and unambiguous. I can’t say they will not attempt but the chances of them being successful are extremely slim,” Robertson said on a radio programme here

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, who was one of the respondents in the constitutional matter, has also said that the CCJ cannot hear the appeal because of the enshrined law here

Williams said the CCJ, while accepting its position as a superior court of record, has continuously recognised that it only possesses such jurisdiction and powers as conferred on it by the Agreement or by the Guyana Constitution or any other law of the Contracting Party

In light of this, the Attorney General submitted that an appeal cannot lie to the CCJ in respect of matters determined under article 177(4) of the Constitution

The CCJ has confirmed it has received the appeal filed by the opposition, but no date has yet been set for the hearing

On Monday, Justices Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory ruled that GECOM has a responsibility to determine the final credible count based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of the observation report, in keeping with provisions of the original order and in the final paragraph of the amended order

But in his minority ruling, Justice Rishi Persaud, ruled that the motion was “premature” and “wholly ill- conceived”: and that the applicant should have awaited to take the matter before the High Court, after GECOM would have announced the official election results

Justice Persaud said the Court of Appeal is “without jurisdiction” based on Article 177 of Guyana’s constitution and that he was also unable to find any law showing that GECOM can pursue any evidential-based investigation or annul an election other than by an election petition at the High Court

The PPP/C has said that it won the elections based on the national recount of votes that ended on June 9. But the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has said that the polls were filled with irregularities and anomalies and wants it annulled

David has mounted her challenge before the appellate court pursuant to Article 177 (4) of the Constitution, which states “”the Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to the validity of an election of a President in so far as the question depends upon the qualification of any person for election or the interpretation of this Constitution….”

Justice Reynolds in his ruling said Article 177 (4) confers jurisdiction over the Court of Appeal in respect to the validity of an election of a president or upon the interpretation of the constitution

 

In its statement, the PPP/C said that the coalition has been doing “everything possible to thwart the will of the electorate and to prevent GECOM from declaring the true results of those elections”

PPP/C to challenge Guyana’s Court of Appeal ruling

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC)— The main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) today said that it has filed an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice objecting to the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday that it has jurisdiction to hear a motion regarding the election of a president, interpreting also that “more votes” cast in the election should in effect be “more valid votes” cast

In a lengthy statement, the PPP/C, which has claimed that it won the disputed March 2 regional and general election based on the national recount of the votes cast in the election, said that “moreover, the Court of Appeal in its pronouncement has plunged the law in total confusion and it is now no longer clear how an election of members of the National Assembly is to be challenged and how the election of the president can be challenged

  “In fact, the Court of Appeal has wrongly ruled that these two challenges must be done separately and in different Courts. To bring clarity to the law and to guard against the Court of Appeal wrongly giving itself jurisdiction, again, to either direct the Chief Elections Officer to submit a fraudulent and perverted report, or to protect a fraudulent and perverted report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer to the Commission, we have decided to file an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice,” the PPP/C said

The party said that it anticipates that “this appeal will be heard and determined speedily by the Caribbean Court of Justice to enable the true results of the election be declared and Dr Irfaan Ali be sworn in as the next duly elected president of Guyana”

The Trinidad-based CCJ is the country’s highest court, but attorney Mayo Robertson, who was one of the lawyers representing the private citizen, Eslyn David, in her constitutional motion against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), said the chances of the opposition being successful at the CCJ are ” very slim”

There is no basis for an appeal. If such an attempt is made it will go nowhere because the language in the Constitution is clear and unambiguous. I can’t say they will not attempt but the chances of them being successful are extremely slim,” Robertson said on a radio programme here

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, who was one of the respondents in the constitutional matter, has also said that the CCJ cannot hear the appeal because of the enshrined law here

Williams said the CCJ, while accepting its position as a superior court of record, has continuously recognised that it only possesses such jurisdiction and powers as conferred on it by the Agreement or by the Guyana Constitution or any other law of the Contracting Party

In light of this, the Attorney General submitted that an appeal cannot lie to the CCJ in respect of matters determined under article 177(4) of the Constitution

The CCJ has confirmed it has received the appeal filed by the opposition, but no date has yet been set for the hearing

On Monday, Justices Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory ruled that GECOM has a responsibility to determine the final credible count based on quantitative and qualitative assessments of the observation report, in keeping with provisions of the original order and in the final paragraph of the amended order

But in his minority ruling, Justice Rishi Persaud, ruled that the motion was “premature” and “wholly ill- conceived”: and that the applicant should have awaited to take the matter before the High Court, after GECOM would have announced the official election results

Justice Persaud said the Court of Appeal is “without jurisdiction” based on Article 177 of Guyana’s constitution and that he was also unable to find any law showing that GECOM can pursue any evidential-based investigation or annul an election other than by an election petition at the High Court

The PPP/C has said that it won the elections based on the national recount of votes that ended on June 9. But the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has said that the polls were filled with irregularities and anomalies and wants it annulled

David has mounted her challenge before the appellate court pursuant to Article 177 (4) of the Constitution, which states “”the Court of Appeal shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question as to the validity of an election of a President in so far as the question depends upon the qualification of any person for election or the interpretation of this Constitution….”

Justice Reynolds in his ruling said Article 177 (4) confers jurisdiction over the Court of Appeal in respect to the validity of an election of a president or upon the interpretation of the constitution

In its statement, the PPP/C said that the coalition has been doing “everything possible to thwart the will of the electorate and to prevent GECOM from declaring the true results of those elections”

 

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