Guyana has a most bizarre electoral and judicial system wherein the wrongful, undemocratic actions of the elections commission cannot be judicially inquired into prior to the declaration of the results, and where a wrong result of an election can actually be declared. Only in Guyana this can happen! If a wrong declaration is made, it requires an election petition in court and this can take many years. The election petition of May 2015 has yet to be heard. No case of electoral fraud has ever been successfully heard in Guyana.
The Returning Officer of a vote count does not have to accept Statements Of Polls in making a declaration. He can announce any result he wants as indeed the RO for Region 4 did following the March 2 elections. The RO does not have to go by actual votes. Clairmont Mingo has SOPs. Instead of using SOPs, he made up vote counts and declared them as the results of that region. The court, some claimed, cannot remedy the problem before his declaration. Gecom could remedy it by refusing to accept the count and ordering a new count. If Gecom does not order a recount, only an election petition, moved after the declaration of the bogus results, taken to the court can correct errors made by the Elections Commission (Gecom) or any of its officers (staff). A judge ruled that the court cannot order Gecom to produce SOPs to determine if a declaration of results is correct. But the same judge said the court has the power to instruct Gecom not to do a recount. Isn’t that a contradictory ruling? Such an electoral and judicial system is a sham and must have been injected into the constitution with a nefarious plan in mind.
In real democracies, aggrieved parties in an election must approach the court before the declaration of results for remedy. And indeed, they do so. All over the world, the court has jurisdiction over electoral commissions and the power to hear petitions during and after the counting of ballots and before as well as after declaration of results.In the US, lawyers note that Guyana’s electoral system is very bizarre. It limits the power of the court on elections. They feel such laws would be unconstitutional if challenged. In the US where almost as many Guyanese and their progeny live as in Guyana, political parties and candidates approached the court when they felt there were incorrect ballot counts or results or when the standard accepted procedure was not adhered. Almost every American election had some kind of dispute that required judicial intervention. The court moved expeditiously making rulings within days if not hours to address petitions. The election officers must abide by the rulings of the court. Corrective actions must be taken before a declaration of results and swearing in of winners. The same procedures were followed recently in Turkey, Kenya, Afghanistan, and several other countries. In the US, UK, Canada, India, and other countries, the court itself supervised recounts of ballots where the elections commission failed to carry out instructions.
Guyana needs to adopt a similar judicial and electoral system as in a real democracy. There is a problem with the count of Region 4. The Chief Justice ruled three weeks ago that the court has jurisdiction to instruct the Returning Officer to undertake a correct count of the SOPs. The RO defied the court and contempt charge was filed against him, but the charge has not been taken to its logical conclusion. The RO must be arrested. Contempt was also filed against the Chair of Gecom. But she gave an undertaking that she would do a recount of the votes. Since the RO defied the court, the court has discretionary power to supervise the count – it can appoint an administrator or registrar of the court to oversee a recount of the SOPs.
This bizarre rule of filing an election petition after a fraud is declared must be addressed. This strange law must be eliminated. The court must correct the fraud before the declaration of results. And those who manufactured voter numbers and are party to the fraud must be prosecuted.