Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace Saturday night called on Vincentians to join him and his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) candidates in the December 2015 general election in Kingstown as the High Court hands down its judgement on whether to throw out two election petitions filed by the NDP.
Justice Brian Cottle will hand down his ruling, in chambers, at 11 a.m. on Monday.
The government has asked the court to throw out the petitions, which it says were improperly filed.
The NDP is claiming that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) stole the Dec. 9 elections to secure a fourth consecutive term in office by a single seat majority – a repeat of the 2010 election results.
Eustace reiterated that point during his four-minute address on NICE Radio Saturday night.
“We the NDP believe that Vincentians have been disenfranchised of the vote at the December 9th, 2015 general elections and this is a critical and fundamental problem for the very foundations of democracy and for the future of this country,” he said.
Eustace said this is why the NDP filed a legal challenge to the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
Electoral officials say those seats were among the eight won by the ULP, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.
The Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Findlay Scrubb, and others have been named as respondents in those lawsuits.
Eustace noted that the respondents have filed an application asking the court to throw out the petitions.
“The application for throwing out our petitions is based on a technicality. What the respondents are saying [is] that because of some perceived technicality in the filing of our case, which has nothing to do with the merit of our case, that our case should be thrown it; it shouldn’t even be heard by the court.
“I wish to ask you the listeners to pause here to consider the grave and fundamental importance of this moment. If the ULP’s application is granted by the court, it will mean that no evidence of the numerous irregularities uncovered during the elections, including the illegal ballot paper used, the action of the electoral officer, etc., will be exposed in a court of law,” Eustace said.
He said the government, which he described as an “illegitimate regime”, continues to fear that the real and persuasive evidence of how this election was stolen will be disclosed in court.”
In the address shortly after 8 p.m., Eustace said that at that time on Monday, the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will have known “if the ULP’s anti-democratic tactics have succeeded”.
The East Kingstown MP who has been representing the constituency since 1998, said that in his near 20 year of parliamentary politics, he has faced many challenges.
Among these, he mentioned being physically thrown out of Parliament along with his colleagues in 2011 “and, more recently, being manhandled by an armed riot squad.
“This moment, however, as we confront this threat to our democracy, that I consider to be my greatest time of challenge. The next generation will judge us all by where we stand in this defining moment,” Eustace said.
He said he will be in Kingstown on Monday morning.
“I call on every Vincentian to join us and to join all of our candidates and other involved to stand on the side of democracy on Monday morning,” Eustace said.