I am reading in the press that “Statements of Poll (SOPs) from five of the 10 Administrative Regions have been handed over to a team from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as investigations continue into attempts to commit electoral fraud at the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.”
I quickly emphasise that this ‘handing over’ is now a legal mandate, something that had to be invoked, as A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) seem most afraid to have any legal issue utilising the all-important SoPs.
Concurrently, again gleaning from the press, I am seeing that “Lawyers for the said A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition filed a ‘Notice of Appeal’ against Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire’s decision to dismiss the second elections petition case.”
Now, what boggles the mind is the litany of egregious legal misdemeanours that APNU+AFC have been trying to foist on the nation and the court system in Guyana and across the region. The whole thing is like an assault on public intelligence and a war against basic honesty.
I will just revisit two to emphasise my argument.
First, back in June 2019, our “Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the process through which Reverend Justice (retired) James Patterson was appointed Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, President of Guyana, was flawed and in breach of Guyana’s Constitution.”
In fact, the CCJ clearly emphasised a purpose, that is “…the drafting history of Article 161(2), …that changes had been made to it to promote consensus and inclusiveness by involving the Leader of the Opposition in the selection process.”
Granger obviously knew this, but went ahead and ‘did his thing’ in defiance.
Second case in point goes back to June 2019, when again it was our highest legal institution, the CCJ, ruling “that the No-confidence Motion, brought against the David Granger-led APNU+AFC administration was validly passed with the votes of 33 members of the 65-member National Assembly…”, thereby compelling the resignation of Cabinet and the holding of general elections within a time frame.
To allow such a matter to reach all the way to the CCJ was indeed ludicrous. The way one of the CCJ judges put it was most embarrassing to APNU+AFC. Justice Jacob Wit said that “…no magic was needed in determining what constituted the needed majority, while noting that attorneys for the state sought to work what he called “their legal magic,” with which they succeeded in persuading the local appellate court that a minimum of 34 votes constituted the majority that was required.” What an indictment!
So now it seems that another ‘trying a thing’ from the APNU+AFC Opposition is about to be discarded into the garbage. They are appealing the ‘throwing out of their (second) Elections Appeals.’
The argument is that “The Learned Judge erred in law when she ruled that the Appellants did not produce evidence in the said Petition, in that being a Petition which claimed that the said March 2 Elections was not lawfully conducted, there was no need for production of any evidence except what was presented, namely, the Declarations as per Regional Returning Officers 1 to 10 and the Recount.”
This is beyond basic common sense. The SoPs, and later the SoRs, constitute the evidence for authentication of any legal or illegal declaration. Both sets of documents were ratified by all of the legally appointed observers. I add that this is what APNU+AFC are shying away from. However, according to Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, the SOPs from Regions One (Barima-Waini), Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica) and Five (Mahaica-Berbice) have already been handed over to the Police.
The Attorney General surmises that by the end of Friday, all the SOPs from Regions Six through 10 would be certified and handed over to the State. He added that the handing over process is being video-recorded in order to ensure “no wickedness” is being conducted.
I hope that APNU+AFC will either disappear or seek to amend their ways. They are like a suffocating wet blanket over the nation.