Chief Justice denies injunction to block polls

Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang yesterday refused to grant an injunction preventing the holding of the November 28 elections on the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to do so.

An application for the injunction was made by the Guyana National Council on Public Policy (GNCPP), the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), An Interfaith Group of Concerned Religious Elders (AIGCRE) and private citizens Phillip Thomas, Andres Atkinson, Maureen Williams, Mohammad Sadiq, and Juste Ramdas. The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and the PPP/C, the PNCR-1G, TUF, AFC, GAP, APNU, JFAP, WPA and GPP were named as defendants in the action.

The groups were seeking to have the court grant an injunction restraining GECOM from holding the polls until it can clearly demonstrate that it is conducting the electoral process in keeping with its legal responsibilities and that the contesting parties “are given equal opportunities in the media for explaining their policies, without being subject to the dictate of any political party.”

Speaking moments after the in chamber decision was handed down, attorney Sase Gunraj, who appeared for the TUF as well as for the PPP/C, in association with attorney Anil Nandlall, said that the orders that were being sought “were refused and the court has found that it has no jurisdiction to grant those orders and as a consequence the interim aspect of the matter has been dismissed.”

Meanwhile, representative of the GNCPP, Dr Thomas told Stabroek News that the judge has denied their applications but found that “we need to move forward with a more substantive aspect of the claim and we are awaiting the formative decision as to when we are going to be moving forward in that respect.”

He said that the matter was raised with regards to some of the additional parties that were served. He added that the plaintiffs are very disappointed that “the matters that we are raising are the same said matter in which they are actually presenting. That it was very defeating in all respects.”

The judge made his decision after hearing submissions from both sides.

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