“Every time we make a step forward, it seems that we make ten steps back”.
So said Chief Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire on Friday as she heard contempt of court proceedings filed against Returning Officer for District Four Clairmont Mingo.
The matter was brought before George-Wiltshire in the same courtroom that two days earlier she ruled that the verification process for the controversial district be conducted in accordance with Section 84 of the Representation of the People Act.
The verification process recommenced at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
However, because the methodology used by Mingo was not accepted by the stakeholders present, the process was suspended.
Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Claudette Singh called for George-Wiltshire’s written judgment to determine the way forward.
The attorneys that filed the election injunction which was previously heard by George-Wiltshire filed contempt of court proceedings against Mingo.
The tabulation process resumed on Friday before the court hearing.
The court hearing started at 10.30 am. Both Mingo and Singh were present at the hearing.
A release from GECOM stated that Mingo “decided to restart the entire exercise and is hopeful that with the cooperation of those present, the exercise would be completed within the shortest possible time.”
The restarted process was not in compliance with George-Wiltshire’s ruling, attorney Mohabir Nandlall claimed.
An exasperated George-Wiltshire said on both sides there was “ a lot of posturing and grand charging while the nation awaits” the election results.
“Why can’t we just get on with it,” George-Wiltshire said.
George-Wiltshire said her previous ruling ordered that the Statements of Poll be used to tabulate the results for District Four.
Nandlall said the contention is the use of a spreadsheet to derive the figures.
George-Wiltshire said she did not care if they used “fingers, toes, a calculator, go back to prehistoric times or even use a pencil and ruler”, just tabulate the results.
She then gave the parties 20 minutes to resolve their issues.
When the matter resumed at 11.50 however Nandlall said the parties were still not able to “arrive at a common modality”.
He said the contempt of court proceedings were not brought to jail anyone but to ensure the court’s orders were properly complied with.
George-Wiltshire said the Statements of Poll should be used for the tabulation process and those required by law to see them should be entitled to do so.
“This could have happened since yesterday with all due respect,” she said.
George-Wiltshire said of the 879 polling stations in the area the results of some 421 were previously agreed upon.
“If something worked go brave,” she said.
The Guyana High Court was yesterday closed for fumigation following the death of a 52-year-old woman in the country from COVID-19.