ST. VINCENT: – Lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne, who represents the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in the case against the Boundaries Commission, is asking questions about the payment of the Commission’s lawyers.
The team representing the Commission comprises former St. Lucia Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony; Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan; and Vincentian lawyers Grahame Bollers and Richard Williams.
Bacchus-Browne said on Friday, Sept. 3, that she was informed that the Commission’s lawyers had asked to be paid EC$400,000 (US$148,148).
Gonsalves had said that the Commission’s lawyers had informed him that the opposition’s case was frivolous.
He told Parliament on Monday that the opposition lawyer needed only to prove that there was a triable issue when they on Aug. 24 secured a continuance of the July 9 injunction, which prohibits the publishing of the July 9 Boundaries Report.
This means that the report cannot be published before a trial on September 30 of constitutional issues raised by Eustace. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“Of course, what we have to show is not that there is a triable issue but that there are serious issued to be tried,” Bacchus-Browne said at press conference on Friday.
“My Question to the Prime Minister, my question to the persons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is this: If our matter was so simple and so trite, why they (the Commission) brought two lawyers from aboard, employed two lawyers from here and pay them over $400, 000 of taxpayers’ money?,” Bacchus-Browne said.
Bacchus-Browne said she had not seen documents to confirm that the lawyers are to get “over $400,000, but, from good information, this is what they are asking for”.
“I don’t know if they have been paid yet, but you the taxpayers must ask the question. Have they been paid the over $400,000? Are they going be paid over $400,000?” she said.
Bacchus-Browne asked why the Commission had not undertaken to not publish the Boundaries Report before the trial since the opposition’s case was “so trite”, as Gonsalves suggested. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“Why did they not give an undertaking and save the taxpayers of this country all that amount of money. Give an undertaking, look, we will not publish it because we know when we go to trial we will beat you up,” she said.
“Sometimes, when the prime minister speaking I believe he speaks as if he is speaking to idiots or he believes he is speaking to idiots. Because, if the matter is such a simple matter, why now, at this late stage, seek to withdraw the order and render our claim academic? The answer to that is that our claim is sound, it is based on good evidence, and, if the matter goes to trial, the boundaries commission will be defeated,” Bacchus-Browne further said.
The Sept. 30 trail will examine 12 issues, including, whether the Commission is acting arbitrarily; whether it contravened the Constitution, whether it was tainted; whether it took extraneous issues into consideration; whether it acted in excess or without jurisdiction; whether the commission lacked integrity; whether the demarcation favoured the paramountcy of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), and, whether the further reduction of East Kingstown, which Eustace represents, is proper in all the circumstances.