A second attempt by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to block the Local Government Elections failed today with Chief Justice Roxane George ruling that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) did not breach the constitution with the establishment of new constituencies, as argued by the party.
Through its Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith-Joseph, the APNU challenged the decision of the Elections Commission to change 37 boundaries in 19 Local Authority Areas.
On Tuesday, Smith-Joseph’s Attorney, Lyndon Amsterdam, argued that the decision violated Article 72 of the Constitution, and as such, an order should also be granted prohibiting the Elections Commission from holding Local Government Elections on June 12 with the new constituencies.
But the Chief Justice, in dismissing the application, said GECOM does not have to apply the criteria outlined in Article 72 of the Constitution.
“I have concluded that GECOM does not have to apply the criteria outlined in Article 72 (2) in deciding what electoral divisions to combine or subdivide in order to form constituencies within the Local Authority Area as established by the Ministerial Order,” the Chief Justice ruled.
She based her decision on the Article 72 of the Constitution and Order No. 39 of 22 issued by the Minister of Local Government, Nigel Dharamlall.
The Chief Justice said that Article 72 is outside of GECOM’s mandate, and it is the Minister of Local Government, who must be guided by Article 72 in the establishment of Local Democratic Organs.
She noted that Article 72 does not speak to the establishment of constituencies. The Chief Justice, in dismissing the application, said it was misleading, and lacked evidence to support claims made.
Tuesday, she dismissed another application filed by APNU, which challenged the List of Voters for Local Government Elections, also due to lack evidence.
Local Government Elections will be held on June 12, however, the Joint Services will cast their ballots on Friday, June 2.