The Unity Labour Party campaign machinery has been put on notice against further breaches of local election laws.

This comes as Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste fired a warning shot as the potential legal consequences of parts of the ULP’s fabled elections campaign strategy while appearing on the Asbert News Network and ITFX Digital Solutions’ wide ranging interview series ‘On De Spot’ last Sunday.

This comes as Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste fired a warning shot as the potential legal consequences of parts of the ULP’s fabled elections campaign strategy while appearing on the Asbert News Network and ITFX Digital Solutions’ wide ranging interview series ‘On De Spot’ last Sunday.

Senator Bacchus-Baptiste is the widely touted New Democratic Party candidate for the West St. George constituency. She presented a synopsis of the verdict handed down by the Dominica sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the appeal put forward by Anthony Defoe and company versus Roosevelt Skerrit and his Cabinet on Thursday May 28, 2020.

This was necessitated because the Dominican High Court denied its inherent jurisdiction to hear the charges for treating that were filed, summarily, against all 15 members of the governing Dominica Labour Party (DLP) following its victory at the December 8, 2014 polls. The charges were filed by 3 “members of the United Workers Party (UWP) which lost the elections,” according to the Court’s published judgment on the matter.

This was necessitated because the Dominican High Court denied its inherent jurisdiction to hear the charges for treating that were filed, summarily, against all 15 members of the governing Dominica Labour Party (DLP) following its victory at the December 8, 2014 polls. The charges were filed by 3 “members of the United Workers Party (UWP) which lost the elections,” according to the Court’s published judgment on the matter.

The Court found that on November 28, 2014 and December 6 that same year, “two free public concerts were held in Roseau and are alleged to have been sponsored by the respondents. No election petitions were filed following the general election.
However, on May 15, 2015, several months after the election, the appellants filed criminal complaints in the Magistrates’ Court against the respondents. As a consequence, summonses were issued by the learned Magistrate.


However, on May 15, 2015, several months after the election, the appellants filed criminal complaints in the Magistrates’ Court against the respondents. As a consequence, summonses were issued by the learned Magistrate.

“In the complaints, the appellants alleged that the respondents held the free public concerts for the purpose of corruptly influencing the Dominican electorate to vote for the candidates of the DLP in the upcoming general election; and thereby they had committed the offence of treating contrary to section 56 (a) of the House of Assembly (Elections) Act (“the Elections Act” or “the Act”).

Bacchus-Baptiste called careful attention to the parallels between the campaign styles of both DLP and its Vincentian counterpart, the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led Unity Labour Party. “It is against the law to give gifts or entertain people or buy things for them or bribe them in anyway. It is against the law to do this for the purposes of winning an election.
It’s in the law books. It is in our law books too. We have a very similar section but nobody has ever really tried the section I mean bringing criminal action….


It’s in the law books. It is in our law books too. We have a very similar section but nobody has ever really tried the section I mean bringing criminal action….

“Now this has far reaching consequences for St. Vincent because we all know that the ULP love to bring in their big reggae stars and so forth and have a free concert. It is clearly against the law.
When you do this, on the eve of elections, and you have impressionable young people … they give free drinks too.


When you do this, on the eve of elections, and you have impressionable young people … they give free drinks too.

“So you get free drinks, you come and get the biggest artistes that you would not be able to see for under 2 or 300 dollars – free; the Court said that it is perfectly in order to bring complaints against – and he brought complaints against all the persons who won their seats – the Court said that was perfectly in order.

“Now the consequence of this is that you are liable to be fined – I think its $1500, in St. Vincent it’s pretty similar – and go to prison and automatically lose your seat for the next 5 years/7 years and you can’t vote. There are some serious consequences of this to tell you how the law takes it seriously.

“There is also the issue of bribing because those lumber, cement and galvanize which the ULP bring in every year and you can see what happened this year; they brought them in probably anticipating or not anticipating COVID, whatever date they had plan for elections but they’re now caught.

“And the lumber, cement and so they are now started giving them out. That is against the law. That is bribery and based on this decision we don’t have to bring a petition to bring these men before the Court and have them disqualified from sitting,” Bacchus-Baptiste said.

In July 2015 PM Gonsalves was reported in the Searchlight Newspaper claiming, “we had ordered and had delivered roughly EC$5 million worth of material last year December [2014]. Those materials, I told you then, were for Lives to Live.

“Those materials were also for residue from [Hurricane] Tomas (in 2010) and from the April [2011] floods and that some of those materials, a limited amount for other persons who want assistance of material from time to time; over and above the $750, 000 of material you may get from public assistance programme….

“What you hear he (Eustace) talking about there he is trying to, in advance, set up an excuse for when he loses the election…. This is the third time so far that we have gotten money from Tankweld, a firm in Jamaica. We have a relationship with Tankweld. I know the people personally. ”

Following the NDP’s 4th consecutive loss at the polls, Bacchus-Baptiste played a pivotal role in filing 2 election petitions that are currently languishing before the Court of Appeal here – a development she described, in Sunday’s interview, as her most poignant professional disappointment with the judicial system, to date.
She also took the time to offer an opinion as to the possible outcome of Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan’s planned appeal of the Supreme Court’s May 28 judgment.


She also took the time to offer an opinion as to the possible outcome of Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan’s planned appeal of the Supreme Court’s May 28 judgment.

“He is relying on a particular decision, which to my mind the Judges have distinguished very well in the Court of Appeal, they are relying on the CCJ decision out of Guyana with the recent person who crossed the floor and the Court held that it should have come by petition. But there was a big distinction.

“In that case they were actually challenging the validity of his election. In this case they are challenging the illegality of the wrong; it’s a very important distinction. And so we are looking at that and waiting to see them bring in their big artistes and throw their free concerts for no other reason but influencing the electorate. That is treating and it’s illegal.

“And the sharing out of the lumber and cement and galvanize, same thing. So here we have this precedent. It doesn’t matter what the Court of Appeal says, really. Well the CCJ because Dominica has a CCJ. If they go there and the CCJ were to hold that you have to bring it within the 21 days well St. Vincent would just bring whatever – if it is necessary – within the 21 days,” Senator Bacchus-Baptiste said.

“…If they commit the offence of treating or bribery and we go to the [Director for Public Persecution] for a fiat and it is not given then we take it to the people. But there’s always the right to bring it in a petition in a civil way and that they would not be able to stop. It just means that you have to bring it in the 21 days,” she added.

JP.Schwmon.Vincy@Gmail.Com