Guyana High Court issues injunction blocking CARICOM-supervised election recount

Just before the CARICOM-supervised recount of votes cast in the March 2 general election gets underway on Tuesday (March 17), the Guyanese High Court granted an injunction blocking the exercise.

High Court Judge Franklyn Holder made the order, which indefinitely restrains the Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield, from starting the latest recount. The recount was agreed upon by CARICOM, incumbent President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. The exercise was slated to commence at 5:00 pm local time.

“An interim injunction is hereby granted restraining the Guyana Elections Commission from permitting or authorising any person or persons to any agreement between the President of Guyana and the Leader of the Opposition and or any agreement between the Guyana Elections Commission and the Caribbean Community or at all to count or recount any ballots cast by the electors at the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections until the hearing and review of the judicial application review filed herein,” the court document states.

Orders were also granted restraining GECOM from setting aside or varying the declaration of the 10 Returning Officers of the 10 administrative districts. Any attempts at substituting or replacing those declarations with any other documents or declarations until the judicial review is heard have also been barred.

According to the ruling, Lowenfield is barred from submitting a report to GECOM with the elections results using any other information or documents except the information and documents submitted to him by the Returning Offices of the ten regions. 

What’s more, the national elections commission may only declare the results of the election and name the winner in accordance with the declarations of the Returning Officers of the ten regions.

Unless the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) gets the High Court to discharge the order, the Chief Elections Officer will declare all the results and issue a report to GECOM for certification.

That process will pave the way for the swearing-in of David Granger for a second term as Guyanese president.