August 27, 2010
Court ruling a victory – Eustace

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has described Tuesday’s ruling on the Boundaries Commission Constituency Report as “A victory for the constitution”.{{more}}

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Justice Gertel Thom ruled in favour of the New Democratic Party (NDP) that the injunction they filed seeking to prevent publication of the Commission’s report in the official gazette be continued.

Speaking to reporters shortly after exiting Chambers at the High Court, a jubilant Eustace said he was happy that the Court granted the injunction and that it will remain until the substantive matter is heard before the Court.

“We are happy with the outcome of the case and as far as I am concerned this is a victory that we needed. We must be clear that our Constitution is upheld at all times,” Eustace stated as he was surrounded by lawyers, Kay Bacchus-Browne and Nicole Sylvester.

A date is yet to be set for hearing of the substantive matter in open court.

Parliament in March passed legislation increasing the number of constituencies from 15 to 17, and the Boundaries Commission, in keeping with the Constitution, decides where those constituencies should be.

However, Tuesday’s ruling means that the 15 constituents will remain pending the outcome of the substantive matter.

Eustace had indicated that former Supervisor of Elections, Selwyn Jones, who represents the NDP on the Commission, did not sign the report on July 9, 2010, because the Commission rejected all the alternative proposals he had tabled.

Meanwhile, attorney Kay Bacchus-Browne told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Tuesday that she is “satisfied that there is a serious matter to be tried.”

Bacchus-Browne, however, accused the Commission of gerrymandering and trying to deprive Eustace of his stronghold in East Kingstown.

“Justice has been served. This is an historic case and a victory for the people and democracy which touches and concerns the right to vote,” she said.

Bacchus-Browne further noted that the Commission should not have relied on the voters’ list and instead should have used the population census to divide the constituencies.

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

Representing the Boundaries Commission are Dominican Lawyer Anthony Astaphan S.C.; former St Lucian Prime Minister and Lawyer Kenny Anthony; Grahame Bollers and Richard Williams.

Bollers, however, reserved commenting on the matter, stating that he wanted time to peruse the entire judgement.

Senior Counsel Shariz Aziz also represents the applicants. (KW)