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Court of Appeal judges: Justices Rishi Persaud, Dawn Gregory and High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds

Source

April 5 2020

The Court of Appeal on Sunday dismissed the appeal, except in one part, against the Full Court decision to discharge the injunctions blocking a national recount of votes cast on March 02, preventing a High Court trial.

The exception was that the Court of Appeal felt the High Court should have been allowed to examine the decision of GECOM to let CARICOM supervise a national recount but the court said that the matter was not being sent back to the High Court.

The Court will issue its orders in this regard by 1: 30 p.m. Monday afternoon.

The delivery of the orders was delayed because Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde wanted to write the court on the only ground under which it granted the appeal – that the High Court should have been allowed to say whether GECOM was breaching its constitutional supervisory powers by handing over supervision of a recount to CARICOM.

Forde insisted on writing the court despite repeated statements by one of the three judges – Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes – that the matter will not go back to the High Court.

All the lawyers understood the judgment of the court, except Forde but the court is unlikely to change its mind.

Regardless of what happens, the Chair of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, has already stated that a recount would go ahead with or without CARICOM.

In her ruling, Justice Gregory-Barnes noted that the GECOM chair, in her affidavit, pointed to her powers under the Constitution that the elections should be independently supervised by GECOM, and therefore the responsibility is on GECOM to supervise the elections to ensure fairness and impartiality.

That the supervision of the recount would be undertaken by an independent team was supported by Mark France of A New and United Guyana (ANUG) in his affidavit in defence.

France’s application, the Judge stated, confirmed a Media Release which pointed to CARICOM supervising the recount, since it used words such as “oversight”.

Such facts, Justice Gregory-Barnes asserted must have triggered the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court to see if the provisions of the Constitution regarding the functions were being breached.

But she stressed that while that is the case, the matter was never heard by Justice Franklyn Holder, and so it ought not to go back to him.

Justice Rishi Persaud was the only judge that upheld the “irresistible conclusions” of the Full Court that GECOM can decide the methodology by which it addresses deficiencies.

But Justice Brassington Reynolds felt that by moving to have CARICOM supervise the recount, GECOM was outsourcing its constitutional responsibilities – the same position of Justice Gregory-Barnes.

Justice Persaud in dissenting to that view stated that GECOM is mandated to ensure a fair and impartial election and is required to put in place mechanisms to achieve that purpose.

He quoted the Full Court decision: “This Court is of the view that that the filing of judicial proceedings undermines the legislative process.

“…On this point, it is clear that the filing of these judicial review proceedings has had the contrary effect to facilitating the efficient completion of the 2nd March 2002 National and Regional Elections. This is a clear demonstration of one type of mischief which the legislature intended to address by providing in plain and simple language, that these challenges should be addressed by elections petition.

“The entire scheme of the elections matrix points significantly to the fact that the election process must swiftly and efficiently take its course so as to enable the elections results to be declared.”

In her decision, Justice Gregory-Barnes, noted the argument of Ulita Moore, the applicant, through her attorney Keith Scotland, that the votes cast have been duly counted and since calls for a recount were rejected, there may be no further count or recount and the Presidential candidate of the winning list should be declared and that GECOM should make a public declaration of results for membership of the National Assembly.

But Justice Gregory-Barnes noted that Moore’s arguments cannot be upheld since GECOM has wide-ranging powers to decide on how it conducts the elections.

The Chair of GECOM last Friday declared that the recount will go ahead and the Commission is trying to decide on how the recount would be conducted.

Original Post
Demerara_Guy posted:

GECOM can proceed with the recount; a process by which all regions will be redone; hence the tabulation must reflect the SOPs; copies of which are with all major political parties.

While supervision by CARICOM is commendable; it is not a process under the constitution and mandate for GECOM.

Where did you get the part about SOPs?  Why do a recount if the tabulation must reflect existing SOPs? 

Totaram posted:
Demerara_Guy posted:

One needs to grasp the importance of SOPs for each polling station and their relationship to the election results for each region.

This means you add up the results of the SOPs of the polling stations in  the region and you get the Regional results.  What's the big mystery?

 

Who did the skulduggery of changing the numbers on the SOPS? 

What I gather is total recount of all ten regions means counting the ballots from each polling station then prepare New SOPs, or could it mean tabulating the count of each polling station in each region, then finally add all the regions to get the over all winner.

 Hopefully, they use the SOPs and not a spread sheet.

@  KP ...

1. SOPs from each polling station represent the total number of votes cast each individual political party.

2. SOPs are provided by the election officials at each polling station at the end of the election period.

3. Detailed tabulation and announcement of polls for each region are officially done by GECOM staff and eventually by the Chairman.

4. Detailed GECOM tabulations must correspond to the SOPs obtained at the time when the polls were closed.

The ppp need to stop blocking Ulita Moore and call grainger bluff. Remember he is the one who suggested the recount because he got more to lose swareing in as an ilegal president. Like the NCV his intention is to milk the system to buy more time. He and his cabal knows they they have more to lose with an illegal swareing in...

kp posted:

@Demerara_Guy, so what I see is Gecom has to add the SOP from each polling station to determine the winner in each region, then add the votes in all the regions to declare the overall winner.

1. GECOM officially adds the results/SOPs in their position to determine the votes for each party.

2. SOPs obtained by political parties agents at each polling station must represent the official amount announced by GECOM.

Note ... Discrepancy in the amount announced by GECOM and the SOPs obtained by each political party must be adequately resolved.

Aide Memoire on recount recognised CARICOM team would function within ambit of constitution

The March 16th Aide Memoire governing the recount of votes at the March 2nd general elections at which a CARICOM team was to be present had recognised the supremacy of the constitution in this matter (see below).

 

The agreement clinched between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo also recognised that the CARICOM team would function under the authority of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The agreement was witnessed by CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque.

 

The involvement of the CARICOM team was abandoned after APNU+AFC candidate Ulita Moore challenged the recount and secured an injunction from the High Court against it. That injunction was subsequently overturned by the Full Court. Yesterday, the Guyana Court of Appeal upheld a small portion of the appeal of Moore in respect of the intended “supervision” of the recount by the CARICOM team. The Court of Appeal ruled by a majority decision that this undertaking would encroach on GECOM’s authority. However, while the word “supervision” was included in the aide memoire it was clear from the document that the CARICOM team would be working under GECOM and in full recognition of constitutional provisions.

Among other things, the aide memoire (see below) stated that ”…the High Level Team would supervise the recount under the auspices of GECOM and would not engage themselves in the actual counting of ballots. Their presence is to ensure that the recount is done in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner”.

Last edited by Django
skeldon_man posted:

CARICOM  was not there to supervise the election results. They were there as independent observers. Wah kine ah blow blow liar PNc gat? Lie dem ah get ready fuh krismuss?

https://s1.stabroeknews.com/images/2020/04/aide-m-2-scaled.jpg

Here you go bhai ,last paragraph state "supervise"

Posted the full article from SN.

Last edited by Django

According to Justices Brassington Reynolds and Dawn Gregory view GECOM cannot outsource the supervision of recounts. I want to ask where within the Guyana Constitution regarding GECOM functions does it say that GECOM cannot outsource supervision of recounts (even when fraud is identified, acknowledged and thrown out by the Courts). Was the Constitution silent on the “cannot outsource supervision of recounts”?

Judges are suppose to interpret the language of the law including the Constitution. Are these two Judges adding language to the Constitution? Can these Judges interpret silent language that the Constitution? I understand Judges interpreting the intent of the founder of the Constitution  even if the founder was a bloody dictator.

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