The preceding week has certainly been most momentous, and is a fitting prelude to today’s meeting of GECOM. On Thursday, the Court of Appeal announced their judgement on the appeal of PNC agent Misenga Jones against the decision of the High Court presided over by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George. In her impeccably reasoned decision, Justice George had rejected Jones’s contention: that the Recount Order was “hopelessly flawed”, and should be struck down, along with the Recount results that flowed from it, in order to permit the GECOM CEO to use the counts from the ten regions, including the discredited one from Reg 4.
She ruled that the CEO could not act as a “Lone Ranger”, but had to accept the guidance of the Commission, which mandated that he use the Recount numbers to produce his report.
The Appellate Court, in a unanimous decision, rejected Jones’s appeal as the Justices concurred with the opinion of CJ George, not only in her conclusion, but in her reasoning that almost all of Jones’s contentions had been litigated and decided upon by previous courts all the way to our apex court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and as such were res judicata, i.e. settled law.
In fact, under the circumstances, all the Justices declared that the decisions have now become “stare decisis”, or binding precedents they had to follow. As such, they ruled that the CEO had to produce his report using the Recount numbers.
But before most of the country could let out a collective sigh of relief, with rising hope that their five-month elections nightmare, brought about by the PNC to rig their way back to office, was coming to an end, the PNC-aligned lawyers for Jones had requested a stay on the judgement. Inexplicably, against strong arguments by the defence lawyers, they were given a one-day stay.
The following day, Friday, the public holiday of Eid-ul-Adha was observed in Guyana, but most observers felt Jones’s PNC lawyers were going to file an appeal to the CCJ, which is housed in T&T, where it was a normal working day.
However, no appeal was filed, most likely because they probably realised that institution would reject any appeal as “frivolous”, since they were the source of the judgements that made the matters res judicata. Certainly, no one thought it was because of the significance of Eid Ul Fitr, which exhorts mankind to practise the virtue of sacrifice, and forms the basis of all social relationships. To the PNC, sacrifice of their overweening ambition to hold on to power at any cost – even if it means destruction of the society, as occurred between 1964 and 1992 – was never an option. The entire logic of their Machiavellian view of power is the antithesis of sacrifice, yet their leaders issued unctuous and sanctimonious exhortations to the nation on “sacrifice”, even as they performatively scorned it.
Eid-ul-Adha was followed by the public holiday of Emancipation Day, which commemorates the fateful event of August 1st 1834, when slavery was abolished in all British colonies, including the then British Guiana. We do not have to reprise the horrors of slavery, in which human beings were defined as “chattel”, like farmyard animals. As such, it behooves the PNC to reflect on the significance of Emancipation”, and whether its ethos would lead them to deny the right of all Guyanese, including and especially African- Guyanese, to be governed by a government of their choice, and not one arbitrarily imposed on them.
Against this background, it is our hope that, at today’s meeting of GECOM, the PNC will not throw any last-minute spanners into the implementation of the clear and unambiguous directions of the courts: for GECOM to declare the winner of the March 2 elections using the Recount figures.
And that President-elect Irfaan Ali will be sworn in forthwith.