Home Letters It is time to move on, the court has spoken
The Appeal Court, by a unanimous decision, dismissed the challenge brought by APNU/AFC supporter Misenga Jones, who was seeking to overturn the ruling handed down by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.
Jones’s appeal was heard by Appellate Justices Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, in association with High Court Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry. All three justices, in their rulings, dismissed Jones’s application, but she was granted a stay of 24 hours.
Jones was seeking to overturn the Chief Justice’s decision in a case she initially filed in a bid to compel the GECOM to utilise the 10 declarations made by the Returning Officers as the basis for announcing the winner of the March 2 elections. The Chief Justice had, however, dismissed Jones’s application for judicial review on ground that the issues were res judicata, which means they have already been ventilated and pronounced upon by a competent court, and cannot be relitigated.
Justice George had reiterated that Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield is not “a lone ranger” and “cannot act on his own”, but is subject to the direction of the Elections Commission. Additionally, she expressly stated that the figures from the 33-day Caricom-observed National Recount should form the basis for the declaration of the results.
In the appeal she filed, Jones was contending that the Chief Justice erred in law when she dismissed the case.
The ruling sends a clear message to the APNU/AFC: that the court will not play politics any longer.
The APNU/AFC’s racialised politics allows persons to distort and narrow a conception of “the people.” This undercuts people’s capacity to empathise with their fellow countrymen. It devotes citizens to their tribes, rather than to their country’s institutions, making them less willing to lose, and more willing to break rules to win.
Over the years, the racialisation of the country’s parties has led to an existential feeling each election, because the party in government is expected to funnel government resources to its ethnic constituency, rather than develop programmes and initiatives that transcend racial lines.
This fight over resources will only intensify now that oil has been found off Guyana’s Atlantic coastline and state coffers are set to swell. Guyana’s political decisions must be the product of holistic concern for all Guyanese.
When Al Gore conceded the disputed USA 2000 presidential elections, he harked back to an earlier day in American history. Invoking Sen. Stephen Douglas, who had just lost the 1860 election to Abraham Lincoln, he said, “Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr. President, and God bless you.” Gore urged his voters and supporters to “put aside” the “partisan rancour.”
Despite his vehement disagreement with the Supreme Court verdict, Gore said he would accept its finality “for the sake of our unity as a people, and the strength of our democracy.”
Mr David Granger, here is your opportunity. As a Historian, look back at those presidents who conceded despite issues and disagreements with the courts. It was always done for the sake of unity as a people, and for the strength of our democracy.
The APNU/AFC-created constitutional crisis has caused Guyana to set a model for the world of what could go wrong in a disputed election. Our country has reached a constitutional crisis, the validity of the national election is in dispute, APNU/AFC and their leaders hold on to power although the final recount result point to their defeat at the polls. After five years in Government, David Granger and his coalition are reluctant to step aside and return power to the People’s Progressive Party Civic, despite clearly losing the March 02, 2020 elections by over 15,000 votes. Instead, Granger and his cabal have accused the Opposition of stuffing ballot boxes and fraudulent voting in several electoral districts.
He agreed to the National Recount of all the votes cast in the election, but rejected the true and final results. Once the initial results were confirmed, the GECOM Chief Election Officer, an agent for David Granger, invalidated 115,000 ballots in an effort to give David Granger his re-election. During this stand-off, Guyana’s Parliament has not met, and Granger’s caretaker Government is effectively paralysed.
In today’s Guyana, political parties and their most ardent supporters feel a sense of urgency. The country’s polarisation has paralleled its ethnic diversification. While some subgroups have found a way to coexist, many endure severe and irresolvable division.
Political parties should encourage their supporters to participate in a multi-ethnic democracy, as the racialisation of political parties emerges as among the most ominous impediments to social harmony and political stability. This election must be completed now. Justice (Claudette) Singh, please act urgently; this country and the world have waited for a very long time for an end to these elections, and everyone agrees that these matters have been overbearing. The courts, also, have been abused. It is time to move on, the court has spoken.