GUYANA | Guyana Court of Appeal sends APNU+AFC election petition matter to Caribbean Court of Justice

GUYANA | Guyana Court of Appeal sends APNU+AFC election petition matter to Caribbean Court of Justice

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, January 18, 2022 - The Guyana Court of Appeal on Tuesday granted leave to the People’s Progressive Party   to appeal its December 21, 2021 ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear and proceed with the Election Petition 99 of 2020, which was thrown out by Chief Justice Roxanne George for late service to former President David Granger.

Caribbean Court of Justice  Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and TobagoCaribbean Court of Justice Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and TobagoChancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings made her decision in keeping with the CCJ Act and she also ordered that the applicants/intended appellants lodge GY$750,000 with the Supreme Court as security for costs within 90 days from Tuesday. They also have to provide within 90 days a list of the documents to be provided in the appeal.

The Appeal Couts wants the CCJ to determine whether it has the authority to hear the appeal from the Coalition APNU+AFC as decided on December 21 and in light of that, has  ordered that its December 21 decision be stayed until the CCJ hears and determines the matter.

In rationalizing her decision, the Chancellor of the Judiciary said: “Albeit it is desirable that appeals be heard and that interlocutory decisions await the results of the substantive matter, this is a matter of great public importance and given the nature of the application and the fact that the application is brought under the respective sections of the Caribbean Court of Justice Act, this court sees no reason to deny the applicants leave to appeal.”

Attorney for the petitioners Roysdale Forde, pointed out that the Court should not wait on the CCJ to determine the matter of jurisdiction before proceeding with the substantial matter.Attorney for the petitioners Roysdale Forde, pointed out that the Court should not wait on the CCJ to determine the matter of jurisdiction before proceeding with the substantial matter.The Guyana  Court of Appeal had ruled on December 21, 2021 that it had jurisdiction to hear an appeal of the High Court’s decision.  Coalition Attorney-at-Law, Roysdale Forde, had failed to convince the court that the substantive appeal should have been first heard by the Guyana Court of Appeal before moving to the CCJ.

“I know of no case that had been brought to the CCJ in similar circumstances where a substantive appeal is pending before the Court of Appeal in any one of the signatory countries.

The CCJ seemed to have indicated that these matters should be first heard, determined and completed in the respective Court of Appeal jurisdiction before they are brought to the CCJ,” he said. He admitted that he was unaware of any resolution in such circumstances in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

As a result, he pointed out that the Court should not wait on the CCJ to determine the matter of jurisdiction before proceeding with the substantial matter.

 Lead Attorney for Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo, Douglas Mendez, SC submitted to the Court that the matter is one of grave public importance and the leave should be grantedLead Attorney for Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo, Douglas Mendez, SC submitted to the Court that the matter is one of grave public importance and the leave should be grantedDouglas Mendez, Lead Attorney for Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo, submitted to the Court that the matter is one of grave public importance and the leave should be granted. Mendez argued that the defense is entitled to an appeal as of right and that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to deny that right. “The Court has made a decision and it is an appealable decision,” Mendez said in his submission.

He also argued that the only function of the Appeal Court in this matter is to determine whether the case falls within Section 6 of the CCJ Act. He further pointed out that the matter even becomes more important for the CCJ to determine because even at the level of the Appeal Court, there were differing opinions. The Court had ruled 2-1 in the matter.

In January last year, Chief Justice Roxane George struck out Election Petition 99 of 2020, filed by coalition supporters Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse.  The petition wanted the Court to nullify the outcome of the elections owing to “grave irregularities” discovered during the recount. The case was thrown out by  was thrown out by Chief Justice Roxanne George for late service to former President David Granger who was a respondent in the matter.   

 

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