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GUYANA | High Court to hear latest recount objection, as Pompeo imposes visa sanctions

  • Written by Calvin G Brown - wiredja.com
  • Published in Justice
Featured Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire
WASHINGTON DC,  July 15, 2020 - In the face of yet another court action involving the Guyana Elections Commission, by way of an order from the High Court, to be heard on Friday morning, United States (US) Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced the imposition of visa restrictions on 'officials' for blocking the declaration of results from the national vote recount.

Mike Pompeo 460"On March 2 the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana held national elections, but it has still not declared a winner.  All international observers of the vote count agreed that the manner in which votes were tabulated departed from established procedures.  They unanimously agreed that a result based on these procedures would not be credible. 

The Organization of American States and Caribbean Community concluded that the recount of votes, which concluded on June 7 and showed a victory for the opposition, reflected the will of the Guyanese people.  Unfortunately, Guyana’s leaders have refused to accept this result.

"Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on individuals who have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Guyana.  Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.

"In my public statements since the election I have been very clear that the United States stands with the Guyanese people and that there would be consequences for individuals who seek to undermine democracy.  The events following the March 2 elections indicate that there are forces that have repeatedly refused to accept the will of the people at the ballot box.  Guyana’s non-democratic trajectory is dangerous for its citizens and for the hemisphere as a whole.  I hope that Guyana’s leaders understand what is at stake if they continue down this path.

"This action is not about interference.  It is to send a clear message of the consequences of subverting democracy and the rule of law, which poses a danger to us and our hemispheric partners.  We have long said that we have no preference for a winning party, as long as it is selected through a free and fair electoral process that is credible," Pompeo said.

The announcement by the US Secretary of State, came as Guyana’s High Court held a case management conference to receive written submissions and schedule an oral hearing for Friday at 2 PM resulting from a court injunction filed yesterday seeking a declaration that the Chair of the Elections Commission is acting outside of the Constitution by the decision not use the March 13 declarations by Returning Officers towards a final declaration of the elections.

The Court is also being asked to declare that the GECOM Chair failed to act in accordance with the Constitution by her failure not to declare final results based on the advice of the Chief Elections Officer.

The applicant also wants the Court to declare that the Guyana Elections Commission has no authority to declare any person President except in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election Officer in his final report under the Representation of the People Act.

The Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire highlighted that the case by Jones essentially centres on whether the recount order is valid to prevent or allow a declaration of the results of the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections; whether Section 22 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act of 2000 is unconstitutional; whether the 10 district declarations should be set aside and whether the issues have been already addressed by the Guyana Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The nub of the issue is whether Order 60 (The Recount Order) issued by GECOM, whether that Order was valid and is valid to such as to permit a declaration of the March 2nd, 2020 election results based on the recount pursuant to that Order 60. To my mind, all the 28 odd claims for relief are hinged on that issue”, the Chief Justice said.

With the matter now before the Court the Chair of GECOM, retired Justice Claudette Singh, through her Attorney gave the undertaking that the Commission will not move ahead with any decision until the outcome of the proceedings.

Justice George said she is hoping to provide a decision by Sunday, but that will be dependent on the submissions that are made.

Written submissions in the matter are to be handed in by Thursday. Already, a number of Attorneys have made submissions.

Last modified onWednesday, 15 July 2020 21:44
  • Countries: Guyana