The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) gave a profound and pellucid ruling on Wednesday in the Irfaan Ali et al v Eslyn David et al case. The meticulousness of the clarity was most welcome, as there was no room for ambiguity that may cause those seeking to derail Guyana’s democracy to manipulate the situation into a scenario that best suits them.
But despite such precision, as expected, the scheduled meeting by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to finally move forward in a step closer to declaring the winner of the 2020 General and Regional Elections has again been stymied. The explanation offered by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) commissioners in asking for an adjournment of the meeting is simply unacceptable.
What is there to study in the judgement that was delivered? President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders, was clear when he said: “It is for GECOM to ensure that the CEO submits a report in accordance with his directives of 16th of June, in order to proceed along the path directed by the laws of Guyana.”
That directive Justice Saunders was referring to is the one that the Commission, led by its Chair, Justice retired Claudette Singh, gave the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, that he must prepare a report under Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 1:03 and in keeping with Order No. 60 of 2020 and its addendum dated 29th May, 2020.
Over four months later, as Guyanese wait with bated breath for an official elections result, again the APNU/AFC agents within GECOM are delaying the process. It is no secret who the winners of the elections are, but yet Guyana and the will of Guyanese are being held hostage at the hands of a few who have discarded the will of the people for their own selfish need to retain power illegally.
Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall was justified on Thursday when he lambasted the APNU/AFC- appointed commissioners for what he referred to as “another shameless tactic” to delay the declaration. These preposterous tactics have been used since in March, when the APNU/AFC realised that they have lost the elections. It is unacceptable that Lowenfield was allowed to embark and descend into fraud when he unilaterally invalidated over 115,000 votes to achieve the aim of giving an illegal win to the APNU/AFC. More so, it is unacceptable that he was aided in this vendetta.
Justice Saunders pointed to this act on Wednesday when he said: “The Court of Appeal impliedly invited the CEO to engage unilaterally in a further and unlawful validation exercise that trespassed on the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court established by Article 163. It was inconsistent with the constitutional framework for the CEO or GECOM to disenfranchise tens of thousands of electors in a seemingly non-transparent and arbitrary manner, without the due processes established in Article 163 and Validation Act.”
The CEO has clearly gone rogue, and should be held accountable for his actions when this process in finally over.
This newspaper supports Justice Singh’s letter to the CEO, which tells him that he is subject to the direction and control of the commission as stipulated by Section 18 of the Elections Laws Act No 15 of 2000. GECOM can no longer allow its rogue chief elections officer, with the aid of elements within the APNU/AFC, to derail the declaration.
There are a lot of wounds that need to be healed after this declaration has been made, and it is time that this country is allowed to breathe again. We can no longer be suffocated by the riggers within the APNU/AFC. Justice Singh must stand firm to have the declaration done in accordance with the Recount results, knowing that she has the law, the international community and all right-thinking Guyanese on her side.