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Guyana: Magistrate throws out private criminal charges against GECOM officials

By CMC

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 15, CMC – Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan Friday dismissed private criminal charges filed against the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), retired Justice James Patterson and the three commissioners, saying that the charges had no merit.

Attorney Sanjeev Datadin had filed the indictable criminal charges against Patterson, and government-nominated commissioners Desmond Trotman, Vincent Alexander and Charles Corbin on behalf of civil engineer Marcel Gaskin, as the political stalemate as to how soon regional and general elections will be held here following last December’s successful motion of no confidence against the David Granger government.

GECOM has said that it cannot meet the March 19 deadline given by the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for the elections, opting instead for a date in July. The government has in the meantime has appealed the High Court ruling that the December 21, 2018 motion of no confidence passed in the National Assembly is valid and that the polls should be held within 90 days of that date.

The private criminal charges claimed that the four GECOM officials had conspired “to breach the Constitution contrary to the common law.”

The complaint alleged that during the period December 22nd, 2018 to March 9th, 2019 the defendants conspired to breach Article 106 of the Constitution of Guyana which provided for the holding of General Elections in Guyana within three months from the 21st December 2018

In dismissing the charges, the magistrate said that they were an abuse of the court process.

She said the charges had no purpose and appear to be frivolous.

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