Guyana’s Court of Appeal Rules in Latest Election Court Battle

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Court of Appeal on Thursday unanimously dismissed an appeal against a ruling in a lower court and gave the appellants one day to decide on their next move, as the challenges to the disputed March 2 elections seem to now be nearing an end.

The three-member panel, in a near three-hour ruling, also agreed that most of the challenges raised during the appeal heard last Saturday were res judicata meaning that they were matters that had been adjudicated by a competent court and therefore may not be pursued further by the same parties.

The appellant, Misenga Jones, had earlier appealed the July 20th ruling of Chief Justice Roxanne George on the grounds that she had erred in her judgement.

Jones had challenged the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) move to make a declaration of the March 2 elections, using votes tabulated by the national recount process, which she said was ruled unconstitutionally by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on July 8.

All three judges on the panel– Justices Rishi Persaud, Dawn Gregory-Barnes along with Justice Priya Sewnarine – provided separate rulings, but all agreed on the need to dismiss the appeal, noting that the appeal was the fourth court matter since the elections were held.

In the meantime, the leader of the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday, welcomed the ruling.

“We are pleased that the decision was unanimous in this regard,” Jagdeo said during a virtual briefing moments after the judgment was handed down.

In dismissing the appeal as being frivolous and vexatious, the Court of Appeal also upheld that the Chief Elections Officer, as an employee of GECOM, must do as he is told by the Commission.

He said that even in the face of a 24-hour stay granted by the Court of Appeal, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) must now move ahead with declaring the winner of the elections in keeping with the recount figures.

The recount shows the PPP winning the elections by over 15,000 votes.

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