From left: Petitioners Lauron Baptiste and Ben Exeter, along with NDP President and Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday. (IWN file photo)

High Court judge Justice Brian Cottle has ruled in favour of the respondents and has struck out the two election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

“It must be recalled that the jurisdiction of an election court is a very narrow one,” he said in his ruling, handed down on Thursday.

The judge cited the case of Sabga v. Solomon (1963) in which the petitioners sought to provide security by way of a cheque but the statute required money.

In that case, the petition was struck out because the petitioner failed to comply with the strict requirement to provide money as security for cost, not as cheque, he noted.

“In the present case, the petitioners were obligated to provide sureties. The recognisances provided by the petitioner revealed no sureties — only the petitioners themselves stood as surety,” Cottle said in the 15-page ruling.

“The absence of the sureties as required is fatal. The petitions are void and nullities and consequently struck out for this reason,” Cottle ruled.

“The petitioners will pay the respondents’ costs to be assessed if not agreed,” the judge further ordered.

The NDP was asking the High Court to overturn the result of the Dec. 9, 2015 elections in Central Leeward and North Windward by declaring their candidates, Ben Exeter and Lauron Baptiste winners of the seats or ordering fresh elections.

Those two districts were among the eight that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) won to gain a four consecutive term in office.

Electoral officials say they were won by the ULP’s Louis Straker and Montgomery Daniel.

The remaining seven seats in the 15-member Parliament went to the NDP.

The government had asked the court to throw out the petitions, claiming that they were improperly filed.

But the during an April 4 judgement, based on arguments presented in chambers on March 4, Cottle had said that the government’s application was “premature”.

He, however, added that the government was bound to succeed if the arguments were presented in open court at the beginning of a trial.

The government’s lawyers presented the arguments in court last week Thursday, at which time counsel for the petitions argued that the new application was vexatious because the responded had not discontinued their application of March 4.

Both sides have told the media that they would appeal if the latest judgement did not go in their favour.

5 replies on “NDP’s election petitions struck out ”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Just as I thought.

    So what now? Surely, it is long past time for Eustace to resign as opposition leader and given up his seat and for the NDP to be restructured, starting with getting rid of all candidates who lost in December.

    Short of this, Camilo will surely be our next Prime MIinister in 2018.

    1. I think Ralph will resign soon after year two in order to give the Boy Wonder time to show us how great he is before the next election, giving him an advantage. The court decision is no surprise, even though the reason for throwing-out the petitions is weak and shameful, (again, no surprise in the ULP controlled Justice System of SVG).

      1. Luther Bonadie says:

        Lostass, Who made you law professor, Judge , and Jury.

        Maybe those ” donkey cart minded fools ” like c-ben and peter.

  2. Brown Boy USA says:

    As a concern Vincentian, it would have been interested to know the facts or lack thereof of what took place in the election to us give an eye opener as to whether our elections are being conducted free and fair and not only hear from the lips of those who just oversee that actual day of election and considered it to be so. But the court has spoken, it is up to the NDP to charter the next course. And if Vincentians don’t like the representation that they are given, then it’s time they stand up and demand what they want. The ball is in their court. I wish I could say I’m happy with the way my country is being run, I’m very dissatisfied with the way the government are conducting the people’s business and wish there were more inclusion and transparency in the business affairs of this country. But only time will tell!

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