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November 6, 2009
‘Vote No’ group may go to court over funding

Lawyers for the recently formed Vote No Committee are discreetly planning their next move.{{more}}

This, following silence from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in response to the committee’s letter dated October 29th, that they (the Vote No Committee) receive ‘a proportionate allocation of funds’.

“I have been advised by my lawyers that whilst matters have two audiences: The court of public opinion and the legal court, I am advised not to disclose any further moves of the Vote No Committee until such time as that move has taken place,” said PRO of the committee Frank DaSilva.

DaSilva, speaking to Searchlight on Tuesday, indicated that Prime Minister Gonsalves, who was given 48 hours to respond to the letter, had not done so up to Tuesday morning.

The Prime Minister, in other fora, had indicated that it would not be practical to use state funding for a cause that is against government policy.

DaSilva said that the legal team, headed by Emery Robertson and assisted by ‘others in the background, some overseas’, will guide the committee of the further action to be taken.

The letter, signed by the committee’s chairperson Margaret London, stated that it required funding in order to conduct educational sessions on the November 25th referendum, to raise awareness of the flaws in the proposed constitution.

The letter stated: “As informed, we understand that a sum of $4 million was allocated for the Yes Vote Committee and we are still left in the dark as to how much will be allocated to the No Vote Committee.”

“To deprive the No Vote Committee of the civic rights to educate the public on perhaps the most important event in this country’s history is to deprive them of their democratic rights,” the letter went on.

DaSilva indicated that the committee is not only seeking funding from the government for its campaign, but also requesting equal opportunity to use various media and venues to disseminate information in support of its cause.

He said that a letter was to be written, requesting the use of the same venues used by the Yes Vote Committee to hold public meetings.

“…As in wherever P R (Campbell) is going; whether it’s a PTA or a school or wherever, those kind of government institution… we should have access, too.”

In the meantime, he said that the committee will continue its work via the airwaves in giving out information.

The committee, which was officially launched last week, consists of Venol Coombs, General Secretary, and committee member Brian Alexander.

The PRO said that the group had been voicing their individual opinions regarding the proposed constitution, but have now come together in a collective effort.

Whilst on the WE FM radio station on Tuesday, London indicated that she would be willing to debate anyone on the proposed constitution, a challenge that had been put out by the Prime Minister on previous occasions.(JJ)