GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 13, 2020 (CMC) – Guyana electoral officials were, resuming the task of the tabulation exercise in Region 4, yet again, today, after the High Court dealt with a motion of contempt, filed by the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), in the latest drama, to declaring a winner in the March 2 regional and general election.
The move to the High Court came, after the Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, recommenced the exercise, this morning, in keeping with a ruling by the High Court on Wednesday.
But attorney, Anil Nandlall, told the Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, today, that her ruling, and particularly Section 84 (1) of the Representation of the People’s Act, are being breached.
He claimed that the Statements of Poll (SOP) were not being added up, according to the original SOPs, and that Mingo had, instead, been reading out from a sheet of paper, which the PPP/C said does not represent the original SOPs.
The Acting Chief Justice, urged the parties to meet, briefly, and further discuss the matter, as she wanted the matter done, and over with, noting “that there was grandstanding on all sides, as the nation waits”.
She told the Court that all that is required is for the SOPs to be held up, during the tabulation process.
“If you have to produce the piece of paper, this piece of paper has the number. What is the difficulty? Why we can’t just show the document?” she asked, adding “that could have happened, since yesterday”.
Following the High Court hearing, Nandlall said the High Court ruled that “the SOPs must be seen, observed by the parties, and the parties present have their role at that process”.
“That’s is what we have been asking, struggling, fighting and canvassing for. That’s all, that’s all,” he said, adding “I think, the Chief Justice has made it clear, what transpired this morning did not comply with her order. So, if they continue now, along this line, I will have to report and put in the evidence before Monday, and …let the course of justice take its natural journey, which will lead to imprisonment.”
GECOM Chair, retired justice Claudette Singh, told reporters, she was pleased with the High Court ruling, and Senior Counsel, Neil Boston, who represented Mingo and GECOM, said that the Court had decided that the SOPs would be out, up on a screen, and that it is hoped, the process would resume after lunch.
“It is a question of choice, it will be displayed,” he said.