PPP SEEKS TO UNDERMINE THE CARICOM INITIATIVE

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Basil Williams, Attorney General

The Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams in a recent statement has condemned the actions of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) following the first stage of the national recount of the March 2 elections. He said the PPP keeps trying to influence the Chairwoman and Commissioners to “resile” from their obligations under the gazette Order which governs the conduct of the recount.

The AG reminded of the four stages of the process and with the first stage having been completed, the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) is engaged in the second stage of compiling a report. Thereafter, the commission will have to deliberate on its content. Williams said despite this, leaders of the opposition were publicly claiming to have won the elections. He adds that the party seems unconcerned that the CARICOM scrutinizing team also has to submit their report directly to the commission.

 “Any reasonable person could conclude that all these political actors knew the purpose of the Order that was gazetted by GECOM to pursue the total recount of the votes cast at the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections (GRE),” the AG outlined.

He said from the onset the PPP sought to undermine the CARICOM initiative. According to Williams, the opposition leader was a signatory to the initiative while PPP commissioner, Sase Gunraj had also boasted that he drafted the very order.

The AG recalled that fourteen (14) days before the arrival of the CARICOM team, the PPP contended that the elections process inclusive of the recount process had to end by the April 30, 2020 to coincide with the constitutional requirement of a dissolved Parliament being convened not later than four (4) months after its dissolution.

AG claims that this was a falsehood since the PPP themselves got the Courts to accept that this requirement was not mandatory and one could exceed the limit, he noted.

Additionally, PPP has contended that GECOM cannot resolve the many discrepancies and anomalies which marred the balloting despite the order stating that both the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) and the Commission have to assess the discrepancies revealed.

“All of these abominations when any lawyer worth his salt would know that as a constitutional Commission the decision-making processes of GECOM would be quasi-judicial. Moreover, Order No. 60 of 2020, made under Article 162 (1) (b) of the Constitution and Section 22 of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2000, is subsidiary legislation having being published in the Official Gazette and therefore a law of the land binding on GECOM and all political parties who contested the said GRE,” AG stated.

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