…expects “President” to be sworn in after case concludes
A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Campaign Manager Joseph Harmon has denied that the coalition is behind the injunction filed by its candidate, Ulita Moore, to block a national recount of the votes by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
At a press conference on Thursday, Harmon related that the injunction filed was independent and as such, the APNU/AFC could not instruct its supporter to withdraw the case.
Addressing questions raised about the injunction, which is now before the High Court, he claimed that the coalition joined the matter when the other parties did.
“Every citizen has a constitutional right… We became involved in the matter when other parties sought to be joined and just as the PPP wanted to be joined, we said we will be joined as well,” he said.
The injunction would have put a halt to the countrywide recount of the March 2 ballots – a process that was slated to begin under supervision of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). However, even now, Harmon has claimed that the APNU/AFC coalition welcomes a countrywide recount of the votes.
According to Harmon, the coalition will respect the ruling of the court while noting that it was anxiously anticipating the swearing-in of “the President”.
“We believe in the law, once the law provides for it, if it is by a declaration by the Chairman of GECOM, if it has to go to court by way of a petition…whatever is the outcome of it, we will support it…We will be bound accordingly,” Harmon said.
He added, “The APNU/AFC are law-abiding and anxiously awaits their president being sworn in …We are not hiding from anything. We have always been upholding the law.”
The ex parte application, filed on March 17, was granted by Justice Franklyn Holder, whose daughter is married to the personal assistant of former Minister of State, Joseph Harmon. It sought to prevent GECOM officers from setting aside or varying the declarations that have already been made by the 10 Returning Officers (ROs) until the determination of the action on Friday.
It also sought the prevention of authorisation on the part of the Commission of any action in relation to the agreement that had been inked between President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin has since dismissed the injunction as preposterous, and intimated that the action pointed to factions within the APNU/AFC coalition.
He suggested that the development suggested that there were factions in APNU or that the President is “flip-flopping and he is deceiving people”.
Questioning the rationale behind the court action, Datadin had asked “why would you want to stop the recount” and said that it was within the ambit of Guyana’s laws.
On Monday, litigants on both sides of the issue in the current court hearing on the matter challenged the jurisdiction of the court to even hear several pertinent matters.
Attorneys for Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield objected to the application by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, to have his client tender as evidence the entity’s Statements of Poll (SoPs) for Region Four and questioned the court’s jurisdiction to accommodate the request.
The Opposition Leader’s formal submissions were made by Attorney-at-Law Douglas Mendez via Skype from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago. Another of Jagdeo’s lawyers, Anil Nandlall subsequently told media operatives that it was Moore’s Attorney that first raised the issue of the court’s jurisdiction “about whether the court can order the SoPs and then we countered with a jurisdictional issue ourselves”.