GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 30, 2020 (CMC) — Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, has maintained that the government of Guyana will respect the rule of law, in the ongoing court matters, relating to the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
Commenting on the matters before the Supreme Court of Judicature, Williams underscored that “We have to abide by the outcome of those court matters.”
According to the Attorney General, the respect for the decisions of the courts remains the longstanding position of President, David Granger.
“President Granger has said that he will be bound by the Constitution, by the directions of GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission), concerning the conduct of elections and the rules of the court,” Williams related.
Presently, there are three main elections-related cases before the Supreme Court, in which Justice Franklin Holder is presiding.
Concerning the injunction application, brought by private citizen, Ulita Grace Moore, to prevent GECOM from conducting a national recount of votes, Justice Holder, on Friday, ruled that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to hear the case.
On March 15, President Granger had petitioned the Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) — Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley — to supervise a national recount of the votes, cast on March 2, to quell any doubts from local and foreign observers, concerning the validity of the results of the elections.
The Attorney General argued that the position of the court, on the case, does not come as a surprise, since GECOM is a constitutional body that executes public duties, and therefore, its actions are subject to judicial review.
On the matter, related to whether the Supreme Court had jurisdiction to order GECOM to submit Statement of Polls (SOPs) to the opposition the People’s Progressive Party-Civic (PPP-C), Holder ruled that jurisdiction was not established.
“Those issues [deriving from the validity of SOPs] are not for this judge. Those issues are for an election petition,” Williams said.
Article 163 of the Constitution addresses the grounds, on which an elections petition can be brought to the court, he clarified.
The judge’s former ruling has since been appealed by the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, in the Full Court, which acting Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, along with another judge, are set to hear the matter, today.
Also, continuing today, is the case, brought by the Opposition Leader, that challenges the declaration of results, made by Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo. GECOM’s attorney, Neil Boston, contends this matter can only be addressed, through an elections petition, as well.
Attorney General Williams further noted that there is the case, brought by Reaz Holladar, against GECOM, which outlines the applicant’s expectation for GECOM’s Chair to ensure there is a recount for votes cast in the elections.
It is the Attorney General’s view that the way forward on this matter, is unknown, since the applicant is now deceased and the case was related to his ‘personal expectation’, something the AG said cannot be argued, on his behalf, by someone else.