Former leader of the opposition, Arnhim Eustace, says he feels vindicated after the Court of Appeal decision this week to reinstate the two election petitions filed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) under his leadership.
“Very much so. That’s why I am here this morning,” Eustace told a press conference on Thursday when asked if he feels vindicated by the victory.
Eustace stepped down from the leadership of the NDP last November after 16 years at the helm, during which he led the party to four electoral defeats.
But he rallied the party after the December 2015 elections, challenging the results in Central Leeward and North Windward.
Electoral officials say that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) won eight of the 15 parliamentary seats in elections that regional and hemispheric observers say were free and fair.
But the NDP, citing irregularities, is claiming that the results do not reflect the will of the people, and have taken the matter to court.
“I am very happy with the outcome thus far and I think it raised a lot of hope for people in our country,” Eustace said two days after the Court of Appeal said that High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle, showed apparent bias in his decision to throw out the petitions last June as improperly filed.
“We sometimes speak loosely about democracy but this is really a blow in defence of democracy and I see the outcome in that context,” said Eustace, who is also Member of Parliament for East Kingstown.
He said that apart from the “purely political” aspects of the case outlined by Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday at Thursday’s press briefing, “I am very, very happy.
“And, like others here, I want to thank the Frontline and I want to thank the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who had to put up with a lot of delays and now we see movement and something that will carry our country forward,” Eustace said.
The “Frontline” refers to NDP supporters who have been protesting outside the Electoral Office since the final results of the elections were announced on Dec. 10, 2015.
With the court judgment, the petitions have been sent back to the High Court for hearing, including the hearing of an application by the respondents to throw out the petitions as improperly filed.