‘They had no case in the first place’ – AG Nandlall on APNU+AFC’s elections petition case

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Attorney General & Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall SC

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, has commended the ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal in the election petition case filed by the APNU+AFC.

Speaking during an interview on Monday, the Attorney General said the opposition continues to clutch at straws to support its baseless claims of being ‘robbed’ during the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

On Monday morning, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal filed by APNU+AFC against the decision of Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George, SC, which dismissed Election Petition No. 88, filed in the name of Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick.

With this ruling, the Court of Appeal has affirmed that Order 60, which was the order used to facilitate the recount of the ballots at the 2020 elections, was lawful, constitutional, and not in breach of the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

AG Nandlall reminded that in April 2021, acting Chief Justice, Roxanne George dismissed the APNU+AFC’s election petition, which challenged the legality of the 2020 elections.

However, the applicants appealed this decision, arguing that the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) reliance on Section 22 of the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act to implement the National Recount Order (Order 60), is null and void and of no legal effect, claiming GECOM has no power to conduct an elections recount by way of an order.

By a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal made it clear that GECOM exercised its constitutional duty enshrined in Article 162 of the Constitution and its statutory powers established in the Election Laws (Amendment) Act and crafted Order 60 to facilitate a final declaration of the 2020 elections.

According to AG Nandlall, the petitions filed by the APNU+AFC were an expression of attempting to ‘play wrong and strong,’ despite having lost fairly.

“They have lost the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections by thousands of votes. Recognising that, they started to hatch theories and allegations of irregularities that 15,000 dead people voted, that 40 ballot boxes documents were removed, and they triggered that entire fiasco that the world witnessed at Ashmin’s building. These petitions, in my view, should never have been filed in the first place, because they did not have a case,” he said.

He also reminded that the opposition had agreed to hold the recount, but resorted to accusations of fraud and illegality when the recount did not produce the desired results.

“That is undemocratic conduct. That is conduct that strikes at the heart of democracy and fair play,” the Attorney General added.

In delivering its ruling, the Court of Appeal awarded costs in the sum of $150,000 in favour of the four respondents who participated by way of submissions.