The Returning Officer for Region Four, Clairmonte Mingo, has been ordered by the Chief Justice to return to the process of tabulating the Statements of Poll for Region 4 and completing the process before making a declaration.
She has nullified the previous declaration, declaring it as unlawful.
In a ruling this afternoon, Chief Justice Roxanne George also ordered that the Guyana Elections Commission can only make a final declaration on the completion of the process by the Returning Officer.
The Chief Justice ordered that the process begins tomorrow from 11 am but noted that it will be up to the Returning Officer to decide whether he will start the process all over again or continue it from where it was suspended.
She also made it clear in her ruling that it will be up to the Returning Officer to decide on the process to be used, whether by spreadsheet compiled by GECOM or statement by statement.
On the issue of verification, the Chief Justice said that is not catered for in the law and if there are issues following a declaration, the law is clear on the steps that will have to be taken after that.
The Attorney for the Guyana Elections Commission, Senior Counsel Neil Boston said while he is disappointed by the decision somewhat, the Elections Commission is ready to move forward with the orders of the Court.
“It was a bit disappointing, but we have achieved something, we are going back to GECOM and we are going to get the process moving”.
He made reference to the term “verification” being used loosely, adding that it will simply be a case of GECOM calling out its numbers and the parties looking to see if those numbers match what they have and if they don’t, then they can follow the law to address the issue.
“And we are not thinking about an Appeal. We are ready to roll the process”, Boston said.
The case was taken before the Court by the People’s Progressive Party Civic. The PPP’s Attorney, Anil Nandlall said his party has been vindicated by the decision of the Court.
“We knew that the process was not complied with, we knew what the legislation provides, we knew who was suppose to be present and how the process was conducted and it was not conducted in accordance with the law”, Mr. Nandlall said.
The Attorney said he is now hoping that the Returning Officer will carry out his duties in keeping with the law. Nandlall said the PPP remains confident.
Noting that time is of the essence, he said that while it will be up to the Returning Officer to decide on whether to continue the process from where it was suspended or start over again, he is hoping that it will continue from the point where it was stopped.
The Chief Justice in her ruling this afternoon also admonished the political players to be responsible for their actions. She reminded that the staff at the Elections Commission are humans and they must be allowed to do their job in a conducive environment.