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CCJ to hear appeal of elections petition on July 19

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has set July 19 at 10:00 am to hear the appeal filed against the Court of Appeal’s ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear and entertain the dismissed APNU+AFC’s Election Petition 99 of 2020.

In the capacity of General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Vice-President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, are listed as the applicants.

During the case management on Tuesday, Presiding Judge Jacob Wit said that election petitions are to be heard expeditiously. Justices Winston Anderson and Maureen Rajnauth-Lee also joined him.

On January 18, 2021, Chief Justice Roxane George dismissed election petition 99 of 2020, which was filed by Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse over improper service on former President David Granger, within the statutorily prescribed time.

Petition 99 of 2020 challenges the results of the March 2, 2020, General & Regional Elections to have Granger declared the duly-elected President.

Attorney-at-Law, Roysdale Forde, SC, and Trinidadian attorney, John Jeremie, SC, had moved to the Court of Appeal (COA) to have the Chief Justice's decision set aside. On December 21, 2021, the COA handed down a majority 2-1 decision ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear the petition's appeal.

The majority ruling was supplied by the Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory, SC, while Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud had a contrary judgment.

However, it is Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, contentions that the Appeal Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case since the High Court threw out the matter and no evidence was heard.

The Chancellor, in her ruling, said that the determinations of the Chief Justice were a final order on both the election petition and a preliminary issue of compliance.

Since the Chief Justice's decision was a final order, the Chancellor said that the petitioners have a right to an appeal since there was no decision on the petition itself.

However, Justice of Appeal Rishi Persaud opposed claiming that the petitioners had no right to an appeal since there was no final decision by the CJ.

Following the ruling, the Appellate Court had granted a stay to the AG and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to head to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and appeal the court's decision.


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