Noting that Wednesday’s decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) nullifies a section of the recount order, he went on to cite a section of that judgement that refers to the declaration of results by Returning Officers. He noted that the recount did not provide for a role for statutory officers.
“Kindly provide guidance on which results of the 2 March, 2020 elections could be lawfully declared,”Lowenfield told Singh.
The 10 district declarations have not been nullified and have been held in abeyance. They include the controversial Region Four results that altogether gave David Granger’s A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) victory. The recount figures show that Region Four was bloated in favour of the coalition while all other declarations generally matched the recounted and certified figures.
The Chief Elections Officer asked the Chairman to “provide guidance” on how the Representation of the People Act would be operationalize because the election law says votes counted and information furnished would be provided by statutory Officers” and “allocation of seats is premised on the statutory report of the Returning Officers.”
He highlighted that the CCJ “clearly stated” in its judgment that it is the Returning Officers who are required to count the votes and furnish information.
“The concluding opinion of the CCJ judgement states that Order No. 60 is in tension with the Constitution of Guyana and could not create a new election regime,” the Chief Election Officer told the GECOM Chairman.
The Recount Order Number 60 provides for the Commission to first decide on whether the recount data should be used by the Chief Election Officer to declare results under the Representation of the People Act.
The Chief Elections Officer also appeared to object to the Chairman asking him to submit a report based on the certified recounted votes on the basis that he legally is subjected to the direction of the Commission under the Election Laws Act. He asked her if the Commission was instructing him based on that law or Guyana’s constitution. “The historic practice of submission of the election report to the Chairman has been premised on ascertainment of the result by the Chief Election Officer,” he said. “The structure of your missive suggests a change in operational procedure and further the two (legal) citations appear dissimilar,” he added.
The GECOM Chair has since responded reinforcing her earlier request and requesting that the Chief Election Officer now submits his report on the elections by 11am on Saturday.
Government nominated GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander told reporters that he believes the request for clarification made by the CEO is fair since based on the Chairperson’s letter for the report and the CCJ’s ruling on the election matter, there are several areas that appear to be contradicting each other.
He said the CCJ may have thrown the entire process in a conundrum since it appears as though they have set aside the recount order and now the Chairman wants sections of that same order to be used for the final results while making the request under the Representation of the People’s Act.
Mr. Alexander repeated his earlier position that GECOM may be forced to make no declaration.
Opposition nominated GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj said he believes the GECOM Chair was very clear in her letter and he cannot understands the clarification requests being made by the Chief Election Officer.
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