St Kitts and Nevis-Privy Council rejects new electoral boundaries
The London-based Privy Council today ruled that Monday’s federal elections in St Kitts and Nevis shall be held on the old constituency boundaries and not on those declared by Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence, by proclamation, on January 16.
In an oral judgment, delivered just after 10 o’clock Eastern Caribbean Time, the Privy Council ruled that orders made by the Appeal Court and High Court be set aside and that the interim injunction granted on January 16 by High Court Judge Marlene Carter be restored.
“The Board will humbly advise Her Majesty that the Appeal should be allowed. That the Orders made by Madame Justice Marlene Carter on the 27th January 2015, and by the Court of Appeal on 5th February 2015, be set aside and the interim injunction granted by Madame Justice Carter on 16th January, 2015 be restored.” … it is determined and ordered that, firstly, the list to be used in the said election is and shall be that existing prior to and apart from the Proclamation bearing the Reference # 2 of 2015, purportedly issued and published by the Governor General in Extraordinary Gazette #3 bearing the date 16th January, 2015.”
Government lawyers had argued that High Court Judge Marlene Carter ruled that the proclamation was duly published and that Attorney General Jason Hamilton had submitted an affidavit to that effect.
Opposition lawyers argued that the events of January 16 were calculated to deny the opposition access to the court and as such was designed to remove their right to protection under the law.
On Friday, January 16, an emergency sitting of parliament was convened at close to 4.15 p.m., moments after the Constituency Boundaries Commission signed, by majority vote, new constituency boundaries. In less than three hours that day, a proclamation was put before Speaker Curtis Martin in the National Assembly, approved by the government benches, signed by the Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence, reportedly published in the Official Gazette, and a proclamation for the dissolution of parliament was signed by Sir Edmund and read from the steps of Government Headquarters, on Church Street by Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas.
Opposition parliamentarians had expressed outrage over the developments, saying they had received notice of the meeting mere minutes before parliament was convened. They also decried the conduct of Speaker Martin who they claimed ignored their constitutional right to fully debate the proclamation. (WINN FM)