Chief Justice Roxanne George ruled this afternoon that the High Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter over whether the Returning Officer for Region 4 should be forced to return to the verification process before declaring results for the region’s elections.
The decision essentially means that the Guyana Elections Commission has to await the outcome of the matter before it could move ahead with any final declaration as an injunction granted to the People’s Progressive Party remains in place.
The Chief Justice has now set Tuesday 10th March 2020 as the date when she will hear arguments and receive submissions in the matter.
A decision could come before the end of the week.
The Attorney representing the Chief Elections Officer and the Returning Officer, Senior Counsel Neil Boston told reporters after the ruling that he is disappointed at the decision but will move ahead with preparing his submissions.
Boston argued that the Court ought not to be hearing the matter because the elections are still in process. The Chief Justice disagreed with that position, although agreeing that some of the matters that were raised before her might be best suited for an election petition as covered by law.
Attorney Anil Nandlall is representing the People’s Progressive Party Civic. He said the decision today by the Chief Justice keeps everything as is since all parties will have to await her final ruling on the matter.
“She has made a decision that the Court has jurisdiction to hear a matter that we raised, which is whether or not Mingo (Returning Officer) should have complied with Section 84. The Court said yes and the Chief Justice said that the injunctions are going to remain in place so obviously whatever is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court, the Court will not hear it, but the Court has pronounced that it has the jurisdiction to hear and determine the relevant issue”, Mr. Nandlall said.
Earlier today, the Guyana Elections Commission in a statement said the Elections Commission will not flout the laws of Guyana and therefore the Commission will not set any meeting to consider any final report on the results of the elections, as had been requested by the Chief Elections Officer.