GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on Sunday ruled that the High Court has jurisdiction over an injunction filed by a supporter of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) as Guyana awaits the outcome of last Monday’s regional and general elections.
“I am therefore cognisant that the restriction that would require the approach to the courts by way of election petitions. However, there can clearly be cases where the court’s supervisory jurisdiction can be invoked to ensure …the smooth operation or progress of the election proceedings or process,” the Acting Chief Justice said.
“A court cannot shirk its duty in this regard and shelter behind the contention that an election petition should be filed when the case clearly does not so warrant.
“As such, having found that there is prima facie evidence to support the court having jurisdiction to hear this application, the respondents must be given a chance to be heard in response through any evidence they may wish to file,” the Acting Chief Justice added.
Last Thursday, Justice Navindra Singh granted an injunction against the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) the Chief Election Officer, Keith Lowenfield, and Returning Officer for Region Four Clairmont Mingo, after the application had been filed by Reeaz Holladar.
The PPP/C had earlier secured an injunction to block GECOM from declaring the results for the elections on the grounds that the votes declared for Region Four were not completely verified.
Holladar had sought a number of remedies including an order from the High Court that the declaration of the Region Four votes by the Returning Officer is in breach of the provisions of the Representation of the People’s Act and as such it is unconstitutional.
He also wants a declaration that GECOM cannot legally or constitutionally declare the results of the regional and general elections unless and until the Returning Officer or the Deputy Returning Officer for Region Four, complies with the process set out in Section 84 of the Representation of the People’s Act.