Petitioners’ lawyers to write Chief Justice

Petitioners’ lawyers to write Chief Justice

Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said yesterday that a letter is to be sent to Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Dame Janice Pereira in light of the delays in hearing two election petitions filed by candidates for the New Democratic Party Lauron ‘Sharer’ Baptiste and Benjamin Exeter.
The candidates filed the petitions since the end of December 2015 following elections held earlier that month and up to now, there has been no conclusion.
The matters were first tried in 2016 by Justice Brian Cottle who dismissed them. The petitioners then appealed and won and the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment and ordered a new trial.
In the ruling in March 2017, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal ordered that the petition trial is held expeditiously. But, the trial has been winding its way through the court because of adjournments, another workload for the trial judge and court vacations.
“Those two petitions filed by Lauron Baptiste and Ben Exeter are the two most important matters before the High Court for trial currently, not only in St Vincent and the Grenadines but in the Eastern Caribbean because petitions matters are highly significant, they are important as they concern the right to free and fair elections, they concern the right for people to vote by secret ballot and they’re of high public interest. So they are the two most important cases that are presently before the court in St Vincent and the Grenadines. And the impact of having to adjourn those cases because a judge has been forced to recuse herself, after waiting three years to have those cases heard, I think has serious far-reaching consequences for the administration of justice in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Bacchus-Baptiste told reporters.
The lawyer representing petitioner Lauron Baptiste said they into to write to Chief Justice Pereira calling for the expeditious appointment of a new Judge for the trial and that the one appointed must be “competent.”
These petitions ought to be heard far more expeditiously than they have been,” Bacchus-Baptiste stated.