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GUYANA | Court of Appeal upholds High Court decision on use of recount votes

Featured GUYANA | Court of Appeal upholds High Court decision on use of recount votes
GEORGETOWN, Gytana, July 30, 2020 - The Guyana Court of Appeal on Thursday unanimously dismissed an appeal filed by a private citizen, Misenga Jones, challenging the legality of the Recount Order which preceded the recount of the votes cast at the March 2 general and regional elections.

The Georgetown resident wanted the Court to reverse a High Court ruling that paved the way for the vote recount to be used for the compilation of the GECOM final report on the elections.

Justices Dawn Gregory, Rishi Persaud and Priya Beharry threw out the appeal, pointing out that the ruling by the High Court was sound.

Justice Priya Beharry agreed with the High Court ruling that the Chief Election Officer is subjected to the directions of the Elections Commission and cannot take it upon himself to prepare a report using declarations that were overtaken by the vote recount.

Noting that the issues raised in the appeal are serious issues, Justice Beharry said the issues are best suited to be heard in an election petition after the declaration of results using the recount figures.

The court on Friday also ruled that any challenge to the recount or the setting aside of the Declarations of the administrative regions must come by way of an elections petition.

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire two Mondays ago ruled that the results of the 2020 General and Regional Elections could only be based on the data coming out of the National Recount, noting that at this stage, the 10 Declarations made in March cannot be resurrected.

She also ruled that Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield is subject to the directions of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and must comply with the rules of the Elecitons Commission.

The decision by the Court of Appeal effectively puts the matter back in the hands of the Guyana Elections Commission to move ahead with its work and a final declaration of the election results using the recount numbers.

The Attorneys for the applicant requested and got a 24-hour stay in the decision to study it. It is not yet clear whether they intend to take the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice, which had pronounced on several aspects related to the elections in a recent judgement.

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  • Countries: Guyana