PPP/C condemns attack on, intimidation of CCJ Judges by APNU/AFC
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has condemned the blatant acts of intimidation meted out to the Judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition. On Tuesday, the PPP/C reminded the APNU/AFC coalition, ahead of today’s ruling in the case challenging the Court of Appeal’s judgment in the Mohammed Ifraan Ali et al v Eslyn David et al ruling, that Guyana signed onto the 2004 regional agreement to establish the CCJ as its apex court.
The 2004 Act tabled in the National Assembly, the PPP/C said, received unanimous support by all members inclusive of the People’s National Congress (PNC) – the APNU/AFC’s largest faction.
The APNU/AFC has been contending that the CCJ does not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal filed by PPP/C Presidential Candidate Dr Irfaan Ali and General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo. The coalition has since then launched an attack on the Court and its Judges in an effort to intimidate.
“What is most offensive are the crass attempts by APNU/AFC’s leaders to influence and prejudice the outcome of the proceedings at the CCJ through their various public statements, letters, and advertisements placed throughout the region. Worse yet, they have launched an unprecedented attack on the independence of the Court and have gone as far as attempting to intimidate the Judges by threatening the very survival of the Court, if the pending ruling is adverse to them. This must rank as the worst form of thuggery and intimidation aimed at the Judiciary in the region,” the PPP/C said in its statement.
The APNU/AFC’s main argument is one of the interferences in Guyana’s sovereignty but the PPP/C explained that by entering into international arrangements and treaties and becoming a part of international organisations is not a limitation of sovereignty but an exercise of it.
Guyana is a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the Organisation of American States and Caricom, and through its obligations under various international treaties executed with these organisations, Guyana enjoined to practice and embrace democratic processes, including free and fair elections. The PPP/C reminded the APNU/AFC that when democracy is threatened in another country, then the entire global community speaks up and ensures that it is restored.
The party said it has taken notice of the APNU/AFC’s ad hominem attacks upon every diplomatic mission, every Government, every organisation, every public personality and every institution that has exercised their right to express a critical and condemnatory view on the APNU/AFC’s and their agents’ attempts to rig the March 2, 2020 elections in Guyana.
The March 2 General and Regional Elections were held and the citizens of Guyana elected the People’s Progressive Party/Civic to form the next Government.
Polling day activities were observed and certified to be free and fair by both local and international organisations. However, Returning Officer for Electoral District Four (Demera-Mahaica), Clairmont Mingo attempted to rig the election results by inflating the votes in favour of APNU/AFC by over 19,000 votes. This resulted in court challenges and a subsequent Caricom-brokered National Recount agreement between incumbent President David Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo.
The ballots were recounted and the recount was observed again by a Caricom high-level team along with local and international observers, and certified to be free, fair and credible. The results of the recount re-confirmed the initial polling day results, establishing a victory for the PPP/C by over 15,000 votes, over APNU/AFC.
Every international organisation has called upon the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to use the recount results as the basis for the declaration of the final election results. GECOM Chair, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, after a Commission meeting, directed the Chief Elections Officer to use the recount results as the basis for his statutory report to the Commission. Instead of following the directions given, the Chief Elections Officer, purportedly taking directions from a stayed Court of Appeal ruling, unilaterally invalidated over 115,000 votes, giving APNU/AFC a fraudulent victory.
This prompted the then Chair of Caricom, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, to ask “on what grounds and by what form of executive fiat does the Chief Election Officer determine that he should invalidate 1 vote, far less over 115,000 votes when the votes were already certified as valid by officers of the Guyana Elections Commission in the presence of the political parties.”
The Appeal Court’s ruling resulted in the PPP/C seeking redress at the CCJ.
Similarly, the Bar Council of the Guyana Bar Association has come out in condemnation of public utterances domestically, regionally and internationally by various APNU/AFC stakeholders that are targeted against the CCJ.