Roxane George-Wiltshire SC

 Roxane George-Wiltshire SC

August 6 2019

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Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC is expected to make a ruling next Wednesday on the challenge by Christopher Ram to the ongoing house-to-house registration exercise.

The judge is also expected to rule on the application filed by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for her to recuse herself from hearing Ram’s challenge as well as the application made by Attorney General Basil Williams, who has asked that Ram’s challenge to house-to-house registration be struck out.

Justice George-Wiltshire yesterday heard submissions from Williams, Solicitor-General Nigel Hawke, Ram’s attorney Anil Nandlall, and attorney Sanjeev Datadin on behalf of the Guyana Bar Association, which appears amicus in the proceedings.

Subsequently, Justice George-Wiltshire adjourned the matter until August 14th, at 1.30 pm, when a ruling is expected to be made.

Ram, an attorney, chartered accountant and political commentator, is of the view that the house-to-house registration exercise is being undertaken in violation of the Constitution.

In his fixed date application, Ram’s attorneys asked the court to declare that the registration exercise is in violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the judgment and consequential orders made by Caribbean Court of Justice CCJ) in the consolidated cases stemming from the passage of a no-confidence motion against government last December.

The application argues that since passage of the motion against the David Granger-led administration, neither the Cabinet nor President has resigned; nor has the Head of State issued a proclamation dissolving the National Assembly or fix a date for elections to be held within the three months as is stipulated by Article 106 of the Constitution.

While it has been government’s position that the exercise is an important prerequisite to the holding of credible elections, both Ram and the opposition PPP/C say it would be in contravention of the Constitution.

GECOM has said that while it is undertaking the registration exercise, concurrent operational activities for the preparation of general and regional elections are also underway.

Senior Counsel Stanley Marcus, in an application on behalf of GECOM, requested that the Chief Justice recuse herself from hearing the challenge on the basis that Justice George-Wiltshire had previously issued a press release that allegedly contained “certain statements which raise the likelihood of bias” on her part.

It is Marcus’ contention that the Chief Justice’s pronouncement of her interpretation of the CCJ ruling being that elections should be held no later than September 18th, 2019 – three months from June 18th, when the court would have rendered its ruling – amounts to bias.

Meanwhile, Williams argues that Ram’s challenge amounts to an abuse of process as he claims that the issues complained of have already been dealt with by the CCJ. He has advanced that in accordance with the principle of res judicata, the matter has already been finally settled by judicial decision and is not subject to further appeal. As a result, he has requested that Ram’s application be struck out.

Original Post

Chief Justice to rule on H2H legal challenges on August 14

 
 
 

as Judiciary urged to “bell the cat”, be firm with Govt

After hearing arguments on Monday that the precedent exists for the court to set a timeframe for elections, acting Chief Justice Roxane George has set August 14 as the date for ruling on the legal challenge against House-to-House Registration and related cases.

During the hearing, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall cited the 2000 Esther Perreira election petition case. Nandlall argued strongly that this case sets a precedent for the court to set an election timeframe.At the time, Justice Claudette Singh had ordered that elections must be held by March 31, 2001. Singh, who is now Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), had also set out limitations on the Government’s conduct, including limitations on what legislation could be tabled.Making reference to this, Nandlall urged the court to intervene and noted that the Judiciary, as custodian of the Constitution, has a duty to act. At this point, Justice George acknowledged that the Judiciary does have an inherent power to act.


The arguments that House-to-House Registration is mandatory did not find favour with the Chief Justice.

This argument emanated from Attorney General Basil Williams.

However, Nandlall pointed out and Justice George agreed, that the law says the Guyana Elections Commission may, and not shall, carry out the exercise.

Confronted with his error, Williams professed that he “loves to stand in front of [Justice George] and learn.

”The Chief Justice set August 14 as the date for her rulings on the challenge to House-to-House Registration, a case brought by Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram, as well as Attorney General Basil Williams’ petition to strike out Ram’s case.


Outside the court, Nandlall expressed hope that the court would be more firm with the Government this time around than on previous occasions, such as when Justice George heard the original case in January.

He maintained that while President David Granger has to set an election date, all the Opposition wanted was for the Chief Justice to set a timeframe within which the President must set a date for elections.


“The No-Confidence Motion was passed on December 21, 2018. The Constitution is clear. The Government has refused to comply with the Constitution. They came to the court. The court ruled that the motion was valid and ordered that sections of the Constitution be complied with. They did not comply with it. We asked the court then to fix dates for elections. The court refused. We then went to the court of appeal and the court reversed that.”


“We then went to the CCJ. The CCJ said the Constitution must be obeyed and elections be fixed within the timeframe. But the Executive is simply disobeying. That is what I’m telling the Judge. For how long will we not bell the cat? For how long will we engage in these diplomatic exchanges and we’re not speaking about the elephant in the room. And I urge the court not to act with restraint. We are here because the court acted with restraint in January,” Nandlall added.Meanwhile, AG Williams reiterated outside the court that these matters were dealt with before and that orders not granted by the Caribbean Court of Justice cannot be granted by the High Court.

House-to-House


GECOM is currently undertaking House-to-House Registration, which was last conducted in 2008 and will see enumerators going in teams of two to three, from door to door in various communities across Guyana. The enumerators will present forms to registrants to fill up, as well as take fingerprints and pictures.
It is understood that these enumerators work from 15:30h to 18:30h during the week and from 9:00h to 16:00h on weekends and holidays. The exercise is intended to produce a new National Register of Registrants Database and Official List of Electors.


This means that everyone, regardless of whether they were registered before or not, must register anew at their place of residence between July 20 and October of this year. However, a No-Confidence Motion was passed against the Government since December 21, 2018, necessitating elections in three months.In addition, the requirement for proof of residency has produced alarm for overseas-based Guyanese to the point where a court case was filed earlier this year by an overseas-based Guyanese against House-to-House Registration on the basis that it would disenfranchise her. That case was later withdrawn out of the belief that GECOM would adhere to the recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rulings which reiterated the need for elections in three months.


It is because of this that Ram brought his case against GECOM. Ram is seeking an order compelling the Commission to stop their House-to-House exercise. Previously, Justice George had denied Ram’s application for an interim conservatory order to block GECOM from continuing its House-to-House exercise that began on July 20.


Subsequently, GECOM Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield through Trinidadian lawyer Stanley Marcus had sought the Chief Justice’s recusal on the grounds of a statement she caused her office to send out which they contended was biased.

The arguments that House-to-House Registration is mandatory did not find favour with the Chief Justice.

This argument emanated from Attorney General Basil Williams.

However, Nandlall pointed out and Justice George agreed,

that the law says the Guyana Elections Commission may, and not shall, carry out the exercise.

 

When GECOM, may or not shall carry out H2H ??? for all the wise on GNI, can some one help with this interpretation.

Noticeably Stabroek News made no such mention of the detailed proceedings.

Why this system cannot update GECOM record.

<dl class="article-info muted"><dd class="published">Published: 15 February 2017</dd></dl>

Georgetown, Guyana – (February 15, 2017) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, today, charged the 62 data entry clerks at the General Register Office(GRO) in Guyana Post Office Corporation building, to make accuracy and speed their watchwords as plans move apace to digitise the agency’s records and create a national database.

At the meeting, the Minister said the clerks are currently being trained to enter births, deaths, marriages and adoption records from 1987 to as far back as 1869 into a database that aims, to ensure the more efficient functioning of the GRO. “This project is important to Guyana in terms of improving the efficiency of the GRO… The first benefit from [digitising] these records since 1869 is that you ought to be able to print a birth certificate and we ought to be able to search for a name electronically … Once [a person] is registered, the record will be here,” Minister Felix said.

He also said that the overall aim of the project is to ensure that each citizen has one identification card that will capture all relevant information from birth to death and that will include biometric information such as fingerprints and possibly retinal scans that will erase the need for additional forms of identification such as a National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

DSC 0540 1

Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix gestures as he makes a point during the meeting.

“The input of the data is really the first stage in digitising the birth records … after the records have been digitised, from there we will proceed to producing a … printed birth certificate … and hopefully from there each citizen will get a unique number… and as a result of that, we’ll be able to digitise the records and have it on your National Identification Card,” he said.

The two-year project, which started on February 1, 2016, is expected to officially begin next week, once training for staff is completed and the database server is fully operational.

Deputy General Registrar, Mr. Louis Crawford, Ms. Dawn Britton, Head of Operations, Mr. Rajnish Parmar, Programme Manager, Information Technology (IT), Mr. Ian Lambert, Systems Administrator, IT Department, and Computer Engineers, Mr. Ricky Chan and Mr. Shivanand Willie also attended the meeting.

DSC 0477

Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix listens to this data entry clerk as she explains how she verifies her data before inputting it in the database while Deputy General Registrar, Mr. Louis Crawford (first left) looks on.

Django posted:

Digitization of Birth Records is good, that's how the modern world store records.It's more efficient system.

They could have used this system and update GECOM list  ... don’t you think.

the money spend on H2H could be used to digitalize the voting system.  

Dave posted:
Django posted:

Digitization of Birth Records is good, that's how the modern world store records.It's more efficient system.

They could have used this system and update GECOM list  ... don’t you think.

the money spend on H2H could be used to digitalize the voting system.  

Thinking about the H2H registration, instead of going to homes, they could have issued new ID Cards, scrap the old one,  from the registrants of the new cards, they could have created a voters list.

They digitized the list in the UK. But they still send out a house to house registration document that every home owner has to fill in and send back. That list is cross referenced with your employment number, and a registry held by the local council to show who is supposed to be living in the property, versus what was filled in by the home owner in the voters list.

Digitizing alone is open to fraud.

Mr.T posted:

They digitized the list in the UK. But they still send out a house to house registration document that every home owner has to fill in and send back. That list is cross referenced with your employment number, and a registry held by the local council to show who is supposed to be living in the property, versus what was filled in by the home owner in the voters list.

Digitizing alone is open to fraud.

They need to Blockchain the process. The Russians are good at that!

Too much shyte going on!!

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