Election Petitions: Trial, Judgment and Appeal (Pt.2) -NDP Weekly Column

Election Petitions: Trial, Judgment and Appeal (Pt.2) -NDP Weekly Column

(Excerpts of Dr. Friday’s Press Statement)

We are not the only ones who believe the judgment is flawed. The lawyers for the Respondents also think so and have written to the Registrar of the High Court saying that the decision is flawed and urging that Justice Stanley John fix it by giving additional reasons for his decision.

This is extraordinary. The people who claimed they won the petitions cases are now complaining that the decision of the Judge in respect of the North Windward constituency case, is seriously flawed. In a letter dated March 22, 2019, (i.e. the day after the judgment), counsel Joseph A. Delves wrote to the Registrar of the High Court saying that the decision did not deal with significant evidence presented by the petitioners at the trial and suggesting that the problems with the judgment be corrected before an appeal is launched. Five days later, on March 27, 2019, not having had a response from the Court, Mr. Delves wrote a second time to enquire whether their letter had been received by Acting Justice Stanley John and when his supplementary reasons would be given.

So, you see the Respondents’ lawyers in the North Windward constituency case are very concerned about the judgment in which they say they won. They were very anxious and could not wait even a week for the Court to reply to their first letter. They had to write again. It would seem that they were anxious to have the Judge write additional reasons for his decision to fix the problems with the judgment that they had identified before an appeal was filed by the Petitioners. What are they afraid of?

Well, they are probably even more worried today, because the Court finally replied to their letters basically saying that Acting Justice Stanley John was no longer a Judge of the Court as his appointment ended on 21st March 2019, the day he gave his judgment, and that he had been informed of their letter.

So, the Registrar confirmed that the Judge was no longer a judge of the Court. This means that he could no longer do anything as a judge in the cases. The Judge himself had made it clear during the trial of the petitions that he had only until March 21, 2019 to complete the matter, when he finished his oral judgment in the Court on that day, he said that this brought the matter to an end. Further, on the website of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court there is publicly available information showing that Justice Stanley John was appointed as a Judge only until March 21, 2019. Knowing this, the lawyers for the Respondents still felt it was proper and useful to write to the Court to ask the Judge to continue to act as judge in the matter by writing additional reasons for his decision to correct problems they saw in the judgment.

ULP Protest Rally in Kingstown

In one of the advertisements the ULP have encouraged their supporters that they must wear red and “hut-up dey head”. Now, who speaks like this in this day and age? This is a message intended to divide and conquer the people; not one about building the country, because no one can build the country with only half the people invited to participate.

We must reject once and for all the old-style politics of division and hate practiced by the ULP and its leaders. To their diminishing number of supporters I say this, remember when they tell you to “hut-up dey head” they are talking about people who sit next to you in church on Saturday or Sunday; they are talking about teachers who help your children prepare for their exams; they are talking about people who play cricket, football and netball on the same team with you; and they are also for many of us talking about members of our own families who do not share our political views. The point I am making is this: politics must not be used to divide our people to the point where we feel it is ok to hurt up their head, for it carries a lot more meaning. It means it is ok to hurt you neighbour, to prevent him from making a living, to deny his children opportunity to get ahead; to do things to people who would make them, as they have said, “suffer and die.

We cannot build a brighter future for ourselves in this country if we continue in that way. The ULP have decided that is how they intend to win, and it is how they have governed. For me, it is much better for our country and for our souls that we return to a politics of embracing of old foes, of reaching out to everyone; and of adhering to the principle that whatever we build and create in this country, we will do it together and share in it equally.

That is the message we must all carry, and we must do so not out of political expediency, but as a commitment to our people. We are too small as a country, too decent as a people to allow ourselves to become so divided that we relish hurting our neighbour that way; whether in their head, in their wallet or otherwise.

I reject that politics of fear and selfishness. We must all reject it. We can start by letting Ralph and Camillo, Julian and Straker talk their hateful talk to themselves, while the rest of us set our sights higher, “unto the hills”, so to speak, from whence cometh our salvation as a people. The politics of divide and conquer helps only the politicians who profess it, and only for a while. It does not help the country.