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Guyana: ‘Not so Jagdeo’ | GECOM Chair objects to producing SOPs to court

…says PPP application misplaced; can only come by way of elections petition

By Svetlana Marshall
CHAIRMAN of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, through her attorney Kim Kyte-Thomas, objected to the Application for Discovery filed by the Leader of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) List of Candidates, Bharrat Jagdeo, on the grounds that the application, which seeks to have the Elections Commission lay over the Region 4 Statements of Poll, could only be brought by way of an Election Petition.

“It is submitted that the production of the SOPs is not for an application such as this. These matters would better be canvassed in an elections petition,” Kyte-Thomas told High Court Judge, Franklin Holder in her written submission on behalf of the GECOM Chair.

Jagdeo’s application stems from Fixed Date Application (FDA) filed by Ulita Grace Moore against GECOM, the Chairman of GECOM, and the Chief Elections Officer.

However, it was noted that Jagdeo, by filing the application, intends to introduce the SOPs to challenge the results stated on the declaration of the Region 4 Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo. “There is a narrow distinction but one nonetheless between this issue and whether there has been compliance of the Returning Officer with his statutory functions relevant to the electoral process pursuant to the elections laws in this jurisdiction,” the Attorney reasoned. Referencing to Article 163 (1) and (4) of the Constitution of Guyana, and the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act, Chapter 1:04, Kyte-Thomas iterated that the application must be presented by an Elections Petition. According to the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act, an Elections Petition must be brought within 28 days of the declaration of the results of an Election.

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