Decision dismissing election petition flawed and insupportable - Hoyte
Appeal may be filed
Stabroek News
March 16, 2002

Related Links: Articles on politics
Letters Menu Archival Menu

The People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) said it was not surprised that Chief Justice Carl Singh dismissed the election petition brought by private citizen, Veronica Delph.

The party also said that Justice Singh's ruling on Tuesday lacked legal logic and could hardly be said to have enriched the corpus of the jurisprudence of Guyana.

Speaking at a press conference held at Congress Place on Thursday party leader, Desmond Hoyte further submitted that the ruling was "flawed and insupportable."

Hoyte noted that to have dealt with the Chief Election Officer's application to dismiss the petition without first hearing and ruling on the petitioner's application for an enlargement of time to file particulars ordered by the Chief Justice was procedurally wrong. "What the Chief Justice did was to decide on matters of fact, separate and distinct from those in respect of which particulars had been ordered, without having any evidence before him. This was an excursion into the realm of speculation. Such a ruling was premature and indefensible, and should be a matter for the trial judge when he hears the substantive petition," Hoyte contended.

He quoted a line from a Guyana Chronicle report published last Wednesday which stated that Justice Singh in his ruling had said that any part of the petitioner's case "would produce a highly contentious, heated and controversial hearing which would be highly undesirable." That statement, Hoyte said, borders on the absurd and the question is to whom it would have been undesirable.

According to him, it is in the interest of citizens that election petitions should be heard and that the evidence on which the petitioner relies should be thoroughly ventilated in open court to test the legality of acts of commission and omission complained of. Hoyte pointed out that what was "highly undesirable" is that citizens should get the impression that actions of the elections commission and its agents are being shielded from scrutiny, and that they, the citizens, should be left in doubt as to the propriety of the issues which agitate their minds, that is, whether, with respect to any given election, constitutional and legal procedures have been faithfully obeyed and the principle of due regularity has been observed.

He said that there can be no hope of political stability in the country until citizens can be certain that the electoral process is properly managed within the framework of the law and the constitution.

The opposition leader said that they would be advising the petitioner to appeal the Chief Justice's ruling.