Election Petition Case … GECOM court submissions have never been discussed jointly with Commissioners
Kaieteur News – Opposition-nominated Commissioners to the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) have repaid statements attributed to GECOM Attorney-General, Anthony Astaphan to say that his submissions to court have never been discussed by the electoral body.
The unveiling took place over the weekend in a public missile which was penned by three APNU + AFC Commissioners, Vincent Alexander, Charles Corbin and Desmond Trotman.
According to the trio misleading, after hearing Election Petition number 88 last Wednesday, media sections reported that GECOM proposed that the Petition be thrown out.
According to the Commissioners, “while it may be true that Astaphan’s attorney-at-law, representing GECOM in this matter, would have offered that view, it is a gross misrepresentation to attribute his submission to GECOM, as matter of fact. ”
The trio claimed that “we the Commissioners, whose nominations originate from the APNU-AFC or their predecessor, do not subscribe to the view that the Astaphan submission reflects GECOM’s position.”
They underlined that, “without comment on or prejudice to its submission, it will not be known that the Commission did not discuss the petition at any time and decided as a Commission a position on the matter.”
It was also noted that “there is no brief that can be accessed by the Commission, as a group of Commissioners.”
This announcement had reported following the court hearing that Astaphan – GECOM’s chief attorney – had repaid the allegations outlined in the election petition challenging the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Election results and requested the petition should be thrown out.
According to the GECOM attorney, “Section 22 (Electoral Acts (Amendment) Act) obtained its constitutional authority and genesis of the Constitution… Order 60 is also fully consistent with the Constitution and the purpose was transparent, in good faith and its intention to remove the difficulties of allowing for a declaration. ”
The lawyer noted that since there was difficulty with the elections, Order No. 60 of 2020 had been created by virtue of Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution and Section 22 of the Electoral Acts Amendment Act to remedy irregularities- drafts, discrepancies, and inconsistencies that occur in the elections process and to determine a final credible account.
In those circumstances, Astaphan told the court, “We do not admit any breach at all.”
Astaphan also argued that the petitioners need to prove complete non-compliance with the law, as they have not done so in their written or oral submissions.
The lawyer specifically referred to Article 162 (1) (b) of the Guyana Constitution.
It stated that “Acts of Parliament must be read subject to the overriding powers of the Constitution which gives GECOM discretion as to how the law was to be applied to allow a fair, impartial interpretation of the law.”
The solicitor noted that the petitioners had shown complete non-compliance
“Cutting alone is not enough. It must be a significant non-compliance that presents something; introduce a principle that is hostile to the basic constitutional principle, ”he emphasized.
As such, Astaphan told the Chief Justice that even if she finds there was a breach, there were no consequences that affected the conduct or outcome of the count, and therefore the election petition should be dismissed.
In his submissions, the petitioner’s lead attorney, John Jeremie, asked the court to decide, among other things, whether the elections have been held lawfully or whether the results have been, or may be, affected have been affected by any unlawful act or omission. and consequently, whether the seats in the National Assembly are legally allocated.
He highlighted a series of allegations that he believes would lead the court to defy the constitutionality of the election laws or the legality of the recount order, which led to the victory of the ruling Party’s Civic Progressive Party (PPP / C).