Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace. (IWN file photo)

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.

3 replies on “Eustace wants Vincentians to gather in K’town for Monday’s court ruling”

  1. TeacherFang says:

    The reckoning is near. Is Brian Cottle going to put a stake in Mr Eustace’s political career on Monday or is he going to prolong the agony of NDP supporters?

    ….don’t worry about it, Mr Eustace, the ruling would be in your favor; the government case would be summarily dismissed and your petitions would be heard….and then thrown out.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    TeacherFang, I agree with the second part but see it as being contradicted by the first part on two grounds.

    First, though political in orientation in a general way, particularly in our Caribbean civilization, the Courts are generally conservative entities pre-occupied with technicalities and precedence. Hence, the government’s case will be upheld on a technicality, which is in keeping with precedence which views technicalities as being critical. If I am correct, bet on Cottle citing case law for supporting the government’s position tomorrow.

    Second, ironically, both the government’s position on throwing out the petition and the petition itself are based on technicalities. Hence the NDP’s argument is highly hypocritical. This is not the Court’s concern but if there is any consistency, either both cases will be upheld or both will be dismissed (the latter is of course hypothetical since if the government is upheld on the first, then there is no second chance unless they lodge and appeal). I don’t see the grounds for taking the NDP’s side in the first but not the second. Doing so would be very political and dangerous for it ultimately says that the ULP should have its day in court even though they have no case.

    There is no way the NDP could ever prove malice, something that may well be important if they are allowed to go forward with this petition. Everything we do in SVG is full of unintentional errors — even though most people wrongly but deliberately see them as examples of wickedness, the term “wicked” being our most commonly used adverb, since conceding to ignorance, incompetence, laziness, etc. would hurt our sense of self-respect and dignity as a people — better to call someone wicked than to call him/her foolish, since the former at least speaks to some sense of self awareness while the latter says we are a nation of dunces.

    So my view is that if the court throws out the government’s motion as based on an inconsequential technicality, it will also throw out the election petition itself on the same grounds.

    Of course, I’m no lawyer/liar so my foolish views are probably the thoughts of an ignorant man with a lazy mind.

    1. I hear you. But if the courts upheld the government position, doesn’t it lend credence to the NDP’s cause, that their case in fact do have merit?

      Anyway, I think for the sake of NDP a victory today, will at least give them some much needed moral and psychological boost to keep them going until the inevitable bulwood of their petitions being thrown out.

      C.ben, are we not basically saying the same thing…mm.

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