High Court Judge, Justice Brian Cottle has struck out an application filed by the government to have to have thrown out two election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) challenging the results in two constituencies in last year’s general election here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Delivering his judgment in the Kingstown High Court today, Justice Cottle described the government’s application as “premature”, and added that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it by means of an interlocutory application in chambers.
He noted however that having had the benefit of full arguments, he is of the view that such an application, if made at the beginning of the hearing of the petition, is bound to succeed.
The NDP is contesting the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
The petitioners, were Lauron Baptiste and Benjamin Exeter the NDP candidates who were unsuccessful in the election, while, the Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Findlay Scrubb, and others were named as respondents.
According to Electoral Officials, the two constituencies were won by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government, which won 8 seats in the general election, but the NDP which won 7 seats, continues to refuse to accept the election results.
Meanwhile…, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in commenting on the judgement handed down in the High Court to by Justice Brian Cottle said he respects the decision of the court, but noted that the Opposition really has nothing to celebrate.
“This is a country with an independent judiciary, a democratic country. I respect the laws, I respect the rulings of whatever institutions hand down the ruling, if you don’t like the rulings you could appeal,” Dr. Gonsalves said while speaking earlier this afternoon on the Shakeup program aired here on WEFM.
The Prime Minister said he is unsure whether the lawyers of the respondents will file another application in the open court at the beginning of the actual hearing of the petitions.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gonsalves reaffirmed his position that the general elections on December 9th, 2015 were adjudged to be free and fair by local, regional and international observers.
He also made it clear that neither he nor anyone in the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Government was involved in any “…fraudulent practices over an election”, adding that “neither have we conspired with anybody to subvert the will of the people, so that I’m not worried about any matter which is before the court.”