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…maintains Section 22 unconstitutional
The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has appealed Chief Justice Roxane George’s decision that there is nothing unconstitutional about Section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act and Order 60 (Recount Order), which were relied upon by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to facilitate a national recount of the votes cast at the March, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde filed the appeal on June 1, 2021 in the matter of Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick v the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and others (Petition 88).
In laying the grounds of the appeal, Forde said the Chief Justice erred in law when she ruled that Section 22 of the Elections Law (Amendment) Act 2000 and Order 60 made thereunder were not in violation of the Constitution.
The Senior Counsel explained that the application of Section 22 and Order 60 during the 2020 Elections conflicted with and contravened Article 177 of the Constitution. It was further submitted that Section 22 and Order 60 by their amplitude of power, contravened the doctrine of the Separation of Powers inherent in the Constitution.
“The Learned Judge erred in Law when she ruled that the said Order 60 was intra vires the said Constitution of Guyana by virtue of a conferment of powers under Article 162 (1) (b) and said Section 22, in that: a) Article 162 (1) (b) in combination with the said Section 22 was misconstrued or too excessively construed to permit a Recount as the basis for the Declaration of Results when the legal regime provided by the Constitution and various other statutes provided otherwise,” Forde submitted.
The Senior Counsel also rejected the Chief Justice’s ruling that the petitioners failed to support their claimed that the March 2, 2020 Elections was not lawfully conducted. “The Learned Judge erred in law when she held that the Guyana Elections Commission was empowered to set aside the Electoral Returns and or Declarations of the 10 (Ten) Returning Officers,” Forde said as he laid another of the 25 grounds laid before the appellate court.