BREAKING NEWS : by Stevenson Manners
Shouts of jubilation of hundreds of red-shirted supporters of the St. Kitts- Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) massed in nearby Independence Square, could be heard from the confines of the High Court in the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial Complex, moments after Resident Judge Her Ladyship Marlene Carter discharged the interim injunction brought on the Attorney General’s Office by Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Mark Brantley at 8:45pm on Friday, January 16, 2015. The Learned Judge said there was no good cause to keep the interim injunction in place. The matter was heard on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. The judgement, delivered before a packed court room, cleared the way for Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas to announce promptly to the nation via a live television and radio broadcast that the Governor General Sir Edmund Lawrence had issued the writ of elections.
The popular leader, seeking an unprecedented fifth term, informed the nation that the date for the elections will be announced this evening at a massive Labour Party meeting scheduled for the parking lot of Best Buy Supermarket in historic Buckley’s, just outside the capital city Basseterre. The Prime Minister has been anxious to give the nation an opportunity to exhale and to express its collective will, but constant legal gymnastics by the Opposition have thwarted those plans.
On Friday, January 16, 2015 the Parliament of St. Christopher and Nevis, the National Assembly, met in emergency session to debate the draft proclamation that was laid before it pursuant to the provisions of subsection 3 or 5 of Section 50 of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis. The draft proclamation was approved by resolution of the National Assembly. Subsequently, the draft proclamation with accompanying resolution was submitted to his Excellency the Governor General and a proclamation in the terms of the recommended draft was gazetted the same day. Speaking from the steps of Government Headquarters at 6:30pm (Jan. 16), and flanked by his fellow Labour Party candidates, the Prime Minister said he had advised His Excellency the Governor General to dissolve the Parliament, the National Assembly, effective the same day to give effect to the proclamation which has realigned the constituency boundaries of St. Christopher and Nevis. He said the date of the Elections in St. Christopher and Nevis shall therefore be announced at a later date. Then the Opposition moved to subvert the democratic process.
Her Ladyship disclosed in open court on Thursday, January 22, that the Order of the Interim Injunction was signed at 7:38pm on Friday, 16th January. The Interim Injunction was served on the Attorney General at 8:45pm. An injunction order, issued ex parte, becomes effective when served. There has been repeated calls from election observers for realigned boundaries in the wake of recent general elections. The Commonwealth Report of 2010 recommended: “the redistribution of election boundaries needs to be finalized to ensure that each constituency contains as nearly equal number of inhabitants as practicable in accordance with the Constitution.”
The Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Mark Brantley has also been a lead and vociferous advocate for realignment since 2009. In a tape which has had significant airplay on several radio stations in recent days, Brantley, in reflecting on his own ‘bloated’ constituency (Nevis 9), said there were serious anomalies in the system. Nevis 9 previously almost tripled the number of inhabitants of neighbouring Nevis 10 (Gingerland) and other constituencies in the Federation, prompting Brantley to say “ it stuck out like a sore thumb.” Having taken care of the immediate matters at hand, the Prime Minister joined his jubilant supporters in Independence Square and marched them to Government Headquarters on Church Street, where celebrations reached a crescendo. The celebrating mass shouted and sang “We Want the Boss” an adaptation of the popular Power Soca Winner of Mr. Bagnall, in last year’s Carnival. Above the din, one supporter was heard to say, “this is a victory for fairness and the democratic process.” The nation now awaits the election date. The last elections were held on January 25, 2010 with the incumbent St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party garnering over 70 per cent of the seats in St. Kitts. It enjoys a coalition with the Nevis-based Nevis Reformation Party, with NRP’s the Hon.Patrice Nisbett serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs.