Hearing of election petition adjourned to September 21
-Hardyal appeals against preliminary ruling

by Patrick Denny
Stabroek News
September 10, 1998

Justice Claudette Singh yesterday granted a seven-day stay of the hearing of the elections petition requested by Stanley Hardyal,SC counsel for President Jagan and Chief Election Officer, Stanley Singh.

She will resume the hearing on September 21, during which time counsel for the respondents, Stanley Singh, Doodnauth Singh SC and President Janet Jagan are expected to file an appeal against her preliminary ruling with the court of appeal. Justice Singh said that her ruling would be made available to that court today.

Hardyal is appealing the ruling by Justice Singh on Tuesday that an application for leave to file an election petition could be made ex parte and that President Jagan could be named as a respondent to the petition.

Justice Singh explained that she was using her inherent jurisdiction to grant the stay in the interest of justice despite agreeing with submissions made by Senior Counsel Rex McKay against the granting of the stay.

In her ruling she said that Senior Counsel Hardyal, did not advance any authorities in support of his submission for a stay and that the case of Ashmore vs Lloyds Corporation he cited was not relevant.

Yesterday, when the hearing resumed, Hardyal sought to get a half-hour adjournment so that the grounds on which he was appealing her ruling could be available to her before she had ruled on his request for a stay.

Also, Hardyal said that he was asking for the 30-minute delay in the resumption of hearing because he did not believe that the court would want to rule on his application for a stay before he had filed his appeal.

McKay objected pointing out that the work of the court could not be held up while opposing counsel awaited papers from the court's registry.

The hearing had been adjourned to yesterday afternoon to allow Hardyal to file his appeal and to cite further authorities in support of his request for a stay.

The election petition has been brought against the Chief Election Officer, Stanley Singh and others by Esther Pereira who is challenging the validity of the December 15, elections. Pereira is represented by Peter Britton SC in association with Rafael Trotman.

Among the respondents named in the petition are Desmond Hoyte SC, who is the representative of the list of the People's National Congress and is represented by Senior Counsel Rex McKay, Keith Massiah and Ian Chang in association with Roysdale Forde; Manzoor Nadir, the representative of the list of The United Force represented by William Sampson; Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, the representative of the list for the Alliance For Guyana represented by Miles Fitzpatrick SC; and Asgar Ally, the representative of the list of the Guyana Democratic Party represented by Saphier Hussein. Hussein is also representing himself as the representative of the list of the National Independent Party.

The Chief Election Officer is being represented by Ralph Ramkarran SC in association with Martin Zephyr and Khemraj Ramjattan; and President Jagan and Doodnauth Singh are being represented by a battery of lawyers led by Hardyal.