Thorne, Gollop win in Guyana
Fresh from winning the Christ Church South seat, Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne has scored a major victory in the Guyana High Court.
The attorney at law along with another Barbadian attorney, Hal Gollop QC, successfully argued a case on behalf of Guyana’s President David Granger.
Last Friday, Justice Roxanne George of the High Court of Guyana dismissed an application made by Zulfikar Mustapha to invalidate the appointment of retired Judge James Patterson as chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.
The applicant challenged Granger’s appointment of Patterson on the grounds of a lack of impartiality and independence and on his fitness for the office.
Mustapha is the executive secretary of the opposition People’s Progressive Party. He is also a member of parliament.
The applicant was represented by five attorneys at law, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Priya Manickchand, Manoj Narayan, Sasha Mahadeo-Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin.
Appearing for the government of Guyana were Attorney General Basil Williams SC, Thorne, Gollop and Solicitor General Kim Kyte.
In January both sides argued before the High Court, with submissions on behalf of the Government of Guyana presented by the two Barbadians.
Justice George ruled that although the applicant had established his right to bring the case, Granger had properly exercised his discretion under the constitution in rejecting the names submitted by the Leader of the Opposition and in selecting the 84-year-old retired Justice Patterson to be the chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission.
In a courtroom packed with officials and supporters of both major political parties and the lawyers for both the applicant and the Government, Justice George read her decision for over one hour and awarded costs of $250 000 to the government.
When contacted, Thorne said: “This decision is very important in defining and delineating presidential powers under the Guyana constitution and in affirming the manner in which appointments to the Elections Commission are to be done.
“It was an erudite and well reasoned judgment in which both sides found vindication on the various points argued. Ultimately, our side prevailed. The judge is also to be commended for returning a detailed decision in the short space of five months after we argued at length in January.” (MB)