July 16, 2010
Longer wait for two new constituencies

Vincentians will have to wait until July 28, at the earliest, to know where the boundaries of the two new constituencies are.{{more}}

The High Court on Tuesday granted continuance for an injunction that the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) secured last Friday, blocking the government from publishing the Boundaries Report in the official gazette.

“The injunction still stands, that’s what it means; and that the lawyers for the respondents consented to the injunction remaining in force,” Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, who is representing the NDP, told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

She said Lawyers for the Attorney General and the Boundaries Commission, who are the respondents in the case, were granted leave to file responses to the affidavits on or before July 19.

The NDP team then has until July 21 to respond to those affidavits and all submissions from both sides should be filed on July 23, ahead of the July 27 trial.

High Court Judge Justice Gerthel Thom will preside over July 27 trial.

It is expected to be a test of legal versatility as Vincentian Grahame Bollers teams up with Dominican lawyer Anthony Asthaphan to represent the Attorney General. Vincentian Richard Williams and former St. Lucia prime minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony will represent the Boundaries Commission during the trial.

Bacchus-Browne and Nicole Sylvester will represent the NDP.

The informal arguments from both sides were voiced to SEARCHLIGHT last weekend, with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves saying the government’s lawyers think the case is “frivolous”.

Opposition Leader and NDP president Arnhim Eustace told Searchlight the NDP has a substantive case.

He said the NDP was not satisfied with the report of the Boundaries Commission, which is expected to increase the number of constituencies here from 15 to 17, Parliament having passed a law to that effect.

Eustace said while the report has not been published officially, he know what it contains.

He said former Supervisor of Elections, Selwyn Jones, who is representing the NDP on the Commission, did not sign the report on Friday, because the Commission rejected all the alternative proposals he had tabled.

The Commission is chaired by Aldric Williams, while the ULP is represented by lawyer Arthur Williams. The trio took the oath of allegiance and the oath of office at Government House on Thursday, May 27, 2010.

Eustace said that in the minority report submitted by Jones, Jones complained that the boundaries were determined even before he attended the first meeting.

“We’re not satisfied with that. We knew that was happening before he got there,” said Eustace.

Once the Boundaries Commission submits its report to the Electoral Office, amendments and recommendations will then be enacted accordingly. This will pave the way to make an order to have the provisions of the report made law.

The last constituency review took place in 1986 when two additional constituencies were created: Central Kingstown being one and the other the Southern Grenadines.