PPP will file ap­peal in bound­aries de­mar­ca­tion case

Stabroek News - - LETTERS -

Dear Edi­tor, The PPP wishes to ex­press its dis­ap­point­ment on the rul­ing handed down by Jus­tice Gino Per­saud, in the le­gal chal­lenge filed by Bibi Shadick, a Com­mis­sioner of GECOM. This case along with oth­ers that have been filed, were done so with the sole ob­jec­tive of pro­tect­ing our demo­cratic process, strength­en­ing our elec­toral ma­chin­ery and safe­guard­ing our cit­i­zens’ right to vote and to en­gen­der con­sul­ta­tion with and par­tic­i­pa­tion of the cit­i­zens of our coun­try in the elec­toral de­ci­sion mak­ing process.

Un­for­tu­nately, thus far, we have been un­able to per­suade the Ju­di­ciary that im­por­tant vi­o­la­tions are taking place in re­la­tion to the Con­sti­tu­tion and our elec­toral laws, which threaten the very demo­cratic foun­da­tions upon which this na­tion rests. Al­though, ev­i­dence was pro­duced that Min­is­ter Ron­ald Bulkan adopted a par­tic­u­lar course of ac­tion in re­la­tion to iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Lo­cal Author­ity Ar­eas, the de­mar­ca­tion of bound­aries and the al­lo­ca­tion of seats for each con­stituency for the Lo­cal Govern­ment Elec­tions of 2015, as he is man­dated to do by law, but that he failed to fol­low that very process in re­spect of the 2018 elec­tions, the learned Judge found noth­ing wrong with this de­par­ture. Hav­ing found that the Min­is­ter acted in ac­cor­dance with the law the learned Judge omit­ted to de­ter­mine a num­ber of im­por­tant is­sues raised in the case, in­clud­ing:

1. Whether the Chief Elec­tion Of­fi­cer can cre­ate new con­stituen­cies in ex­ist­ing NDCs ar­eas with­out con­sult­ing with ei­ther the elec­tors or the po­lit­i­cal par­ties;

2. Whether the Chief Elec­tion Of­fi­cer at his own whim and fancy can merge ex­ist­ing con­stituen­cies and add con­stituen­cies within ex­ist­ing NDCs when their im­pact clearly cre­ate an elec­toral ad­van­tage in favour of one po­lit­i­cal party and to the dis­ad­van­tage of other po­lit­i­cal par­ties, with­out con­sult­ing with the elec­tors, the po­lit­i­cal par­ties or any or­ga­ni­za­tion or stake­holder what­so­ever.

3. Whether the Chief Elec­tion Of­fi­cer acted on his own or car­ried out the di­rec­tions of the Min­is­ter in the al­ter­ation of th­ese con­stituen­cies and whether the process fol­lowed by the Chief Elec­tion Of­fi­cer, in so do­ing, was law­ful.

Th­ese were some of the fun­da­men­tal is­sues which we ex­pected pro­nounce­ments on for fu­ture guid­ance. Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese is­sues were not ad­dressed by the court in the oral de­ci­sion de­liv­ered. How­ever, we pledge to con­tinue to per­se­vere re­lent­lessly in our strug­gles to pro­tect our cit­i­zens’ right to vote and in­deed the demo­cratic process as a whole. Cer­tainly, we will file an Ap­peal against this rul­ing.

Yours faith­fully, Zul­fikar Mustapha Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party

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