Government lawyers to object “strenuously” to opposition MP’s request to adjourn boundaries change injunction hearing

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 20TH 2013 (CUOPM) – After claiming to be one step ahead of the government in the latest boundaries change injunction, lawyers for the opposition are going to court this morning Friday to request an adjournment.

Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Counsel to the Prime Minister
Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Counsel to the Prime Minister

However, Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Counsel to the Prime Minister says his team will object “strenuously” to the move by the claimants to have the matter put off to a later date.

WINNFM Radio reports that the lawyers for four Opposition MPs will ask for the adjournment when the Court sits to hear arguments related to an injunction barring the Governor General from signing off on changes to the Constituency Boundaries.

Mr. Anthony told WINN FM on Wednesday that he had had a number of conversations with members of the legal team for the Claimants about their wish to adjourn the matter due to a scheduling conflict for Lead Counsel Douglas Mendes S.C. Anthony said that he had been formally notified and had on Wednesday afternoon responded to indicate that he would be objecting to the request. He said that the claimants had had ample time to prepare.

“There’s nothing magical about having any particular lawyer present for the hearing of this matter, so we will be objecting very strenuously to any objection,” he said.

“They’ve gotten an injunction preventing the Governor General from doing what he’s mandated to do by the constitution, and we need to have this matter heard, and dealt with expeditiously. They’ve had more than enough time to instruct counsel and ensure that the table is cleared so this matter can be heard.”

A court injunction filed by four Members of the Opposition on September 9th, prohibits the Governor General from signing off on a proclamation effecting constituency boundaries changes until a judicial review is conducted of the procedures used in preparing the recommendations. Within days (September 13th) the Attorney General’s Chambers filed a Notice of Application to strike out the injunction.

Mr. Anthony said Wednesday, as he understood it both the arguments for the injunction order and the application to strike, are to be heard by the Court on Friday.

“They are now indicating…that they are seeking an adjournment of both matters on Friday, and we find that unacceptable.”

On the evening of September 9th, hours after the injunction was filed, government MPs approved a resolution changing the boundaries in St. Kitts and Nevis. With the injunction in place however, the Governor General cannot sign the proclamation effecting the changes.

The claimants in the matter are Opposition Leader Mark Brantley, and Opposition MPs Timothy Harris, Shawn Richards and Eugene Hamilton.

CUOPM notes that Sam Condor has not joined the injunction and another opposition MP, Vance Amory was among four of the five members of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission who signed the Report.
On Friday 13, 2013, at 3:20pm the Attorney General’s Chambers filed a Notice of Application to discharge the Conservatory Order granted by His Lordship Justice Darshan Ramdhani on Monday, September 9th, 2013 restraining the Governor General from acting or relying on the Constituency Boundaries Commission Report and from making a proclamation under section 50(6) of the Constitution.

This matter was brought before the Court by members of the opposition. They named the Constituency Boundaries Commission, His Excellency the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Attorney General as parties in the matter.

They claim that the Constituency Boundaries Commission in arriving at their decision to realign the Boundaries acted arbitrarily and without regard to the rules stated in Schedule two of the Constitution and that the intention in so doing is to adversely affect the election results against them.

The Attorney General in the Notice of Application asked that the Conservatory Order be discharged on the basis that there is no justifiable claim of a violation or intended violation by the Second Respondent, the Constituency Boundaries Commission, of any right granted to the Claimants under Section 50 of the Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis (the Constitution) or any other provision of the Constitution and that the Claimants has no right under the Constitution or any other law to represent a particular Constituency in the next General Elections.

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