Election Petitions Update: 99 before CCJ, 88 judgment still with Chief Justice

The APNU+AFC’s Election Petitions 88 & 99 go to the soul and sinews of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, dubbed in the Cooperative Republic as the ‘mother of all elections’ because its victors would control the spending of the vast wealth from the nascent Oil and Gas sector. Guyanese who have been grappling lately with the rising cost of living have learned in the face of such seeming economic abundance: who leads matters. 

Attorney at Law Roysdale Forde, SC, appearing on our affiliate social media program, In The Ring, April 6, 2022, gave an update on what has become of the Petitions in the judicial system since they were both struck out of the High Court on technical grounds. None of the substantive issues raised in the Petitions has been ventilated, both decisions by the Chief Justice are in the process of being appealed. 

Senior Counsel Forde stated that Election Petition 99 was initially challenged and won on the issue of whether the Court of Appeal in Guyana had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. That was December 21, 2021 and since that time Attorney General Anil Nandalal has filed an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Forde said, “They first had to go to the Court of Appeal and obtain leave to file that appeal, that was granted. The appeal was recently filed [with the CCJ]. 

Election Petition submitted Sept. 1, 2020 | From left: Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, then “presumptive” Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and then APNU Leader David Granger, as they pose with their Election Petition outside the High Court (Guyana Times)

“I believe a little over a week or ten days ago, so we are now at this stage. Of course, that will include the preliminary processes of filing your acknowledgment of service, what would constitute the record of appeal; we are at that stage is at that stage in relation to that matter,” Forde, SC, intimated. 

He stated that “In relation to the Election’s Petition 88 matter, I filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal. I have written the Chancellor, and the Clerk of the Court of Appeal asking for an early date for the hearing of that appeal. There seems to be a great challenge in getting or obtaining the decision of the Chief Justice. I’ve been asked by the representatives of the Court of Appeal to contact the office of the Chief Justice to obtain the same.” 

CCJ President Adrian Saunders on a courtesy call with Irfaan Ali and other members of the PPP regime, including AG Anil Nandlall

Senior Counsel Forde said, “We are trying to obtain a copy of the judgment to have it submitted to the Court of Appeal, and we expect to have a date shortly thereafter for the hearing of that appeal. The issue is to obtain the decision given by the Chief Justice, the Court of Appeal is not in their possession of it. I have not been served with any decision of the High Court from the Chief Justice as yet so I could lay it over to the Court of Appeal.” 

Additionally, eyebrows were recently when the President of the CCJ Justice Adrian Saunders paid a courtesy call on President Irfaan Ali and members of his Government, the legitimacy of which goes to the core of the Election Petitions.

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