St Kitts election boundaries injunction lifted
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has handed down its ruling in the boundaries change challenge brought by opposition parties in St Kitts and Nevis.
At a sitting in St Lucia on Thursday afternoon, the court discharged an earlier injunction blocking the adoption of new electoral boundaries.
However, the court also granted leave to the opposition to appeal its decision to the Privy Council in London, which officials say could take place as early as next week.
In the meantime, nominations for the upcoming general elections in which the Dr Denzil Douglas-led St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party is being challenged by the Timothy Harris-led coalition of opposition forces known as Team Unity, are to proceed on February 6.
Prime Minister Douglas has welcomed the decision of the regional court in light of his recent announcement of a February 16 poll.
Following is the full text of the Prime Minister’s official statement on the Court of Appeal’s decision to discharge the constituency boundaries injunction:
“I am very very joyful, I should say. I’m very pleased that the Appeal Court has upheld the lifting of the injunction that was imposed as part of the attempt to hear an appeal against Her Ladyship’s decision a few days ago.
I want to also say that it is obvious that there has been quite a bit of care and caution which the National Assembly had spearheaded in the work of the Electoral [Constituency] Boundaries Commission from its very initial status to its passing into law and this of course has been validated.
I want to also emphasize that the attempts of the democratically elected Labour-led Government in St. Kitts to establish fair electoral boundaries in keeping with the requirements of the Constitution have at last been affirmed by the Eastern Caribbean highest ranking Court as being very valid and responsible and just.
And so I want to rejoice with the people of St. Kitts at this time for this ruling. For several years we have been attempting to establish fair boundaries and roughly equal constituencies and every attempt we have made especially for the last ten years, have been frustrated.
I know that the Opposition is not going to accept defeat easily and so they are going to go to a higher court which they have a right to do. I believe that the ruling of the higher court, the Privy Council will say that it is only right and just that we pursue these elections on fair boundaries.
I want to make it clear that tomorrow we will have nominations for the elections on fair boundaries and so I want to again commend our legal team, I want to commend all of them for their tremendous work that they have done. I want to commend the Attorney General who as I said before was at the right place at the right time and was able to spearhead massive victories in our courts. I believe he has all of us know, we were doing the right thing.
I want to thank the Electoral Commission, and the chairman in particular, Mr. Peter Jenkins, for the outstanding work that has been done. And too the Speaker of the National Assembly for being very firm when it was absolutely clear that there was a period of wasting time in order to attempt again to frustrate the wishes of the people to have fair boundaries for these elections.
We now move on of course to the bigger victory and that is to win a fifth term in the name of the people and for the betterment of St. Kitts and Nevis.”