President gets leave to file more affidavits in bid to stop elections petition

Stabroek News
July 28, 2001

Chief Justice Carl Singh in Chambers on Wednesday granted further leave to President Bharrat Jagdeo to file additional affidavits in support of his application to strike out the 2001 elections petition.

Veronica Delph, a private citizen, was granted leave to file a petition challenging the constitutionality of the national and regional elections by Justice Singh but President Jagdeo through his lawyer, Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos wants to stop the proceeding on the basis that one of her lawyers was not properly authorised to act on her behalf.

The respondents in the petition are Chairman of the Elections Commission, Major General (Rtd) Joseph Singh; President Bharrat Jagdeo for the PPP/C; Leader of the PNC/R Desmond Hoyte; Leader of Rise Organise And Rebuild (ROAR) Ravi Dev; Leader of the GAP/WPA, Paul Hardy; and Leader of The United Force (TUF), Manzoor Nadir.

President Jagdeo, the third named respondent, in an affidavit in support of his application said that the petitioner in her affidavit in support of the petition had expressly authorised Forde to be her attorney in the matter to do all acts necessary.

However, the Notice of Security for Costs was signed by Allicock, purportedly as attorney for the petitioner.

As such the president is contending that the signing of the notice by Allicock renders it null and void.

The affidavit also said that by virtue of the provisions of Section 8 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act Chapter 1:04, the petitioner is required within a time not exceeding five days after the presentation of an election petition to serve the respondent with a notice of presentation of the petition and a notice of security for costs required to be provided by virtue of Section 7 of the Act. It says these requirements have not been complied with.

It is on these grounds that the president is seeking to have the election petition struck out.

But in an affidavit in answer, Delph said that she authorised both Forde and Allicock to act as her lawyers by a written Authority a copy of which is attached to her affidavit.

She said that the notice of costs together with the notice of presentation of the election petition were served on the third named respondent through attorney-at-law Rafik Khan who accepted service on behalf of President Jagdeo as his lawyer.

President Jagdeo had also filed an appeal against the granting of leave to Delph to file the petition on the grounds that an ex-parte application heard in chambers was not the proper procedure in seeking leave to file an election petition.

Further that the court had no jurisdiction to hear such an application and grant the order therein sought ex-parte and in chambers. Another ground was that the appellant was deprived of his constitutional right under Article 163 (3) (a) of the constitution to be heard on the hearing of an application for leave to file an election petition. It is also contended that the Chief Justice erred in granting leave to the petitioner to file an election petition.

De Santos on Wednesday requested time to file more affidavits in support of the president's attempt to stop the election petition.

In court on Wednesday were attorneys-at-law Llewellyn John, Hubert Rodney, Clyde Everton Forde and Goumatie Singh for Manzoor Nadir, the TUF leader who is the fifth named respondent and Senior Counsel Rex McKay for the fourth named respondent, Desmond Hoyte, Leader of the PNC/R.

The matter comes up again on August 8.