PPP gives up

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File Photo: Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall, speaking to reporters outside of the courtroom. His client, Christopher Ram, pays keen attention

…says will not contest chief justice’s ruling on house-to-house registration

THE Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said it will not appeal the decision of acting Chief Justice, Roxane George-Wiltshire, who, on Wednesday, ruled that house-to-house registration is legal.

“In the circumstances, after a more mature consideration of the chief justice’s decision and after conferring with my client and other counsel involved, including Senior Counsel, it is our considered opinion not to appeal the decision of the learned chief justice. Needless to say, we may reconsider our position should appeals be filed by the other parties in the proceedings,” the PPP said in a statement.

The party said the legal proceedings filed by chartered accountant Christopher Ram, achieved its principal objective, which is, barring de-registration of persons during the ongoing house-to-house exercise.

The PPP also maintained that elections should be held on or before September 18, 2019.
The acting chief justice delivered her judgement in a case challenging the constitutionality of House-to-House Registration brought before the High Court by Ram, in which the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM); Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield; and Attorney-General Basil Williams were the named respondents.

Justice George-Wiltshire ruled that the Constitution and the Laws of Guyana provide for the conduct of House-to-House registration as a form of verification – a position that was argued by the attorney-general and the attorneys that represented the Chief Elections Officer, Senior Counsel Neil Boston and Roysdale Forde.

As such, she ruled that the June 11 Order published in the Official Gazette by the then Chairman of the Elections Commission, Justice (Ret’d) James Patterson, was in compliance with established laws. The order paved the way for the House-to-House Registration exercise to be conducted from July 20, 2019 to October 20, 2019 – a period of three months.

The chief justice iterated that there was nothing stopping the Elections Commission from carrying out its functions, and more so, a decision it had taken before a No-Confidence Motion was put before the National Assembly, and before the CCJ delivered its judgement in the consolidated No-Confidence Motion cases and the GECOM Chair appointment matter.

“I do not see how a House-to-House Registration exercise violates Article 106 (6) and (7). The CEO and GECOM have no role in the implementation of Article 106 (6) and as regards Article 106 (7), GECOM could conduct the House-to-House Registration or any other verification process, for that matter, in the context of the peculiar circumstances that are extant following the NCM,” the chief justice ruled.