30th of July, 2020. Georgetown, Guyana, South America.Last updated: July 30, 2020 at 16:33 pm
The Appellate Court of Guyana in Georgetown has today ruled that the CARICOM certified recount results must be used to declare a winner of the March 2, 2020 elections in Guyana – essentially upholding the ruling of the High Court in the case of Misenga Jones versus GECOM which sought to demand that GECOM revert to the discarded original tabulation of votes for the ten regions. The original tabulation was deemed fraudulent after Mr. Clairmont Mingo altered figures on a spreadsheet in favor of the APNU/AFC. This led to protests and the eventual months-long recount which was scrutinized by a Canadian sponsored CARICOM team.
This is the first time in history that the Appeals Court of Guyana has ruled against an APNU/AFC agent. The APNU/AFC incumbent government had repeatedly abused the judicial system of Guyana and the Caribbean over the last two years in attempting to derail the democratic process. Since the December 2018 no-confidence motion, the APNU/AFC government has lost every court case that went from the High Court to the Court of Appeals and then the Caribbean Court of Justice.
In the last several cases, judges from the Appellate Court had ruled in favor of the APNU/AFC or its agent after they appealed a decision by Guyana’s High Court.
It is not clear at this point whether GECOM would be successful in declaring the winner of the March 2, 2020 elections or if the APNU/AFC will move to the Caribbean Court of Justice before that. General Secretary of the PPP/C, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that there is nothing stopping GECOM at this point from declaring the legitimate winner of the March 2, 2020 elections according to the CARICOM certified recount results. The recount results show the PPP/C ahead of the APNU/AFC by over 15,000 votes.
The Court of Appeals has granted a 24 hours stay of proceedings which may give the APNU/AFC lawyers enough time to move to the CCJ. However, such a move would be futile since Ms. Misenga Jones, in moving to court for this matter, was challenging the most recent ruling of the CCJ. Both the High Court of Guyana and the Court of Appeals have upheld the most recent ruling of the CCJ that the Recount Results must be used to declare the winner of the March 2, 2020 elections.
Around the 15th of July, the United States implemented the first phase of sanctions against officials of the APNU/AFC government and some of its supporters on the grounds of hindering the democratic process in Guyana. This first phase of sanctions came in the form of revocation of the US visas of those whom the US saw as attempting to undermine the democratic process in Guyana. In announcing the sanctions, the United States also warned that if the APNU/AFC continues to hold on to office illegally, a second phase of sanctions will be applied. The United States simultaneously called on the United Kingdom to implement sanctions against officials in Guyana who are perceived to be acting against democracy. The UK responded by saying that it has started the process of implementing sanctions which will be applied if the APNU/AFC continues to hold on to power illegally.
Mr. David Granger, the de facto Head of State, has in turn responded to these developments by saying that he is disappointed in the United States’ decision to apply sanctions since his government had no direct involvement in the court cases filed to stop the declaration of the winner of the March 2, 2020 elections. He further called on all parties to await the outcome of the judicial processes and said that he would accept any declaration made by GECOM – which he says is an independent body.
It has been five months since Guyanese cast their ballots in the March 2 elections and up to today, there has been no transition of government – leaving the country in a state of turmoil, tensions and uncertainty and the economy in a state of stagnation.