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Guyana Elections Commission Chair Hoping For Compromise From Commissioners

GECOM Chair, former justice Claudette Singh.

Guyana Elections Commission Chair Hoping For Compromise From Commissioners

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 11, 2020 (CMC) – The Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice Claudette Singh, yesterday, expressed the hope that all six members of the Commission will arrive at some compromise, on the way forward, after the High Court delivers its ruling today, as to whether, or not, the Commission can officially declare the results of last Monday’s regional and general elections.

“It is important for all relevant parties and members of the public to note, that while GECOM is a constitutional agency, it is still subjected to the laws of Guyana, hence the mandatory injunction, granted against the Commission and the Chief Elections Officer on Thursday, 5 March, 2020, has affected the finalisation of the Commission’s work, at this point,” she said in a statement.

“The Guyana Elections Commission, however, is cognizant of the sense of urgency with which the Commission must complete its work, as such, it is anticipated that there will be a greater level of compromise by the six Commissioners, on the net steps, following the decision of the Chief Justice,” she added.

On Sunday, Acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George-Wiltshire, ruled that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear an injunction, filed by a supporter of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), seeking to block GECOM from declaring the results for last the elections, on the grounds that the votes, declared for Region Four, were not completely verified.

Last Thursday, Justice Navindra Singh granted an injunction against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the Chief Election Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmont Mingo after the application had been filed by Reeaz Holladar.

The matter resumed in the High Court on Tuesday.

Last week, soon after the injunction was granted, the three opposition members on the Commission declined to meet with their colleagues, saying to do so would be “a flagrant attempt to breach the order of the Court…and a naked attempt, by the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, to suborn us to breach an order of the Court and exposing us to liability for contempt of court”.

They added that they would consider the invitation “to meet, as not only a violation of our duty to uphold the Constitution, but also an invitation to subvert the course of justice”.

“We wish to reiterate that our unconditional position is, that Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 of the Laws of Guyana was not complied with, by the Returning Officer and, therefore, the purported declaration of the votes, recorded for each list of candidates, is invalid, null, void and of no effect.

“For the foregoing reasons, we will not respond to any such, or further invitations, from the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, or Chairman of Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh, while the Court proceedings are still extant,” they added.

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