News
August 27, 2010
We would like elections to go ahead – Lawyers

Lawyers representing the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in the case against the Boundaries Commission say they are not interested in delaying general elections here.{{more}}

They say their July 9 injunction which prevented the publication of the Boundaries Report was to ensure that the opportunity to challenge the operation of the Boundaries Commission is not “forever lost”.

“We would like the elections to go ahead, but it must be done preserving what is the integrity of the democratic process,” Lawyer Nicole Sylvester told reporters on Tuesday.

“And it must be preserved until these serious issues are determined by a court of law,” Sylvester added.

General elections here are due by March 2011, and High Court judge Gertel Thom on Tuesday, August 24, granted a continuance of the injunction.

This means that the Boundaries Commission cannot publish its report until the court rules on the issues that the opposition have raised in relation to constituency boundaires here.

Parliament in May passed legislation to increase the number of constituencies here from 15 to 17.

The Boundaries Report contains commissioners’ suggestions for realignments of the constituency boundaries to make way for the two additional constituencies.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace and his NDP believe that two members of the three-man commission acted outside their constitutional authority.

Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, who also represents the NDP on the matter, said elections can still be held here although the matter is before the courts.

She said while Parliament increased the number of seats to 17, this does not come into effect until the Boundaries Report is published.

“So, right now in St. Vincent [and the Grenadines], there are only 15 constituencies. So, if you were to have an election now, you could only have it with the established constituencies. Not the 17, even though it is a fact that the law was passed,” she said.

Bacchus-Browne noted that Parliament has the right to pass laws to increase the number of constituencies.

“But it does not come into effect until the Boundaries Commission does its work and publish it. Once it is published and Parliament is dissolved, that is when it becomes established,” she said.

“That being the case, an election can be held anytime, but it must be held with the 15 seats,” Bacchus-Browne added. (KXC)