Statement on the Political and Electoral Situation in Guyana

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), in its judgment delivered on 8th July 2020,
determined that the decision of the Court of Appeal of Guyana in the Eslyn David vs
Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) et al. case was made without jurisdiction and is
invalid and of no effect and the Report of the Chief Elections Officer dated 23rd June 2020
was also of no effect.

The CCJ in its ruling, while acknowledging the aim of the Recount Order – Order
No.60 – noted that the Order ought not to contradict the Constitution of the Cooperative
Republic of Guyana. The CCJ stated:

“The Court also notes that an Order issued by GECOM in any particular context
can never determine how the Constitution is to be determined. It is a matter of
elementary constitutional law that if ordinary legislation is in tension with the
Constitution, then the Court must give precedence to the words of the
Constitution and not the other way around. With respect, the notion that Order
60 could either impact the interpretation of the Constitution or create a new
election regime at variance with the plain words of the Constitution is
constitutionally unacceptable.”

The CCJ’s ruling has meant that the Recount Order created a new electoral regime and.
as such, was not in keeping with the Constitution of Guyana. This has meant, also, that
votes tabulated during the National Recount cannot be used to declare the results of the
General and Regional Elections. The CCJ in its ruling (at paragraph 37) stated further:

“The Presidential Candidate on the list for which more votes have been cast than
any other list has deemed to be elected as President and the Chairman of
GECOM must declare. The allocations of seats in the National Assembly and the
identification of the successful Presidential Candidate are determined on the
sole basis of votes counted and information furnished by Returning Officers
under the Representation of the People Act.”

The CCJ’s ruling clearly invalidated the Recount Process indicating that the Chairman of
the Election Commission was obliged to act in full accordance with the Constitution of
Guyana and the judgment of the CCJ and declare the results of the election based on the
Report presented by the Chief Elections Officer.

The Representation of the People Act (Chapter 1:03 of the Laws of Guyana,
at Section 96) requires the Chief Election Officer (CEO) to calculate the valid votes
cast in an election. The official Report presented by the Chief Elections Officer stated
that a total of 475,118 valid votes were cast at the General and Regional Elections (GRE)
held on Monday 2nd March 2020. The number of votes cast for the six-party coalition (A
Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) was 236,777. The
number of votes cast for the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) was 229,330.
The Chief Election Officer stated that his Report was consistent with Article 177(2) (b) of
the Constitution and Representation of the People Act, governing elections in the country.
The Constitution (at Article 177 (2)(b)) provides an explanation on the declaration of the
elections result and states:

“Where there are two or more Presidential Candidates, if more votes are cast in
favour of the list in which a person is designated as Presidential Candidate than
in favour of another list, that Presidential Candidate shall be deemed to be
elected as President and shall be so declared by the Chairman of the Election
Commission acting only in accordance with the advice of the Chief Election
Officer, after such advice has been tendered to the Elections Commissions at a
duly summoned meeting.”

The Representation of the People Act (at Section 96) requires the Guyana Election
Commission, therefore, to declare the election results based on the valid votes cast in
favor of the lists of candidates who contested the elections and the advice of the Chief
Election Officer, which must be consistent with those laws.

It clearly states, “ The Chief Election Officer shall, after calculating the total number of valid votes of electors which
have been cast for each list of candidates, on the basis of votes counted and the
information furnished by returning officers under section 84(11), ascertain the result of
the election in accordance with sections 97 and 98.”

The APNU+AFC Coalition has iterated its commitment to abide by the
Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Representation of
the People Act Chapter 1:03 which provides for the declaration of the results by the
Elections Commission.

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