A lawyer representing the main opposition New Democratic Party say she is confident that the court will ultimately rule in their favour in the election petitions matter.
Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said that the NDP has a strong case, saying on NICE Radio Tuesday night that over 300 illegal ballots were counted in Central Leeward in the Dec. 9, 2015 general election.
The lawyer further said that, in North Windward, the petitioners can show that none of the ballot boxes were sealed properly according to law and that in the election, the ballot paper was not done according to law.
The NDP is challenging the results of the elections in Central Leeward and North Windward.
The petitions were given new life when the Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle, showed apparent bias in the handling of the petitions, which he threw out last June as improperly filed.
The court ordered that the petitions be sent back to the High Court to be heard by a different judge.
Senior counsel, Anthony Astaphan, the lead lawyer for the respondents, has already suggested that they will again ask the court to throw out the petitions as improperly filed.
Bacchus-Baptiste said that the petitioners are very confident of the petitions.
“Even if the respondent decides to go through with the motion [to strike], we are confident that a new judge hearing the matter would decide that those recognisances are proper. So we are just ecstatic on this side and we are looking forward to the petitions being heard.”
Bacchus-Baptiste said the first step of the NDP’s legal team would be to make certain applications.
“We would want to have inspection now of the ballot boxes and we are going full steam ahead with that.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we especially want to say thank you to all those people, who, through rain and sun and through Christmas and New Year’s Day came out and demonstrated in front of the electoral office.
“And we also want to thank all of you who have been praying and who continue to pray because I can tell you, there is nothing stronger than prayer. You have been fighting about powers and principalities of high places, but today, our praises have prevailed and we give credit to all of you who have been praying for us, and we say continue to pray for us.
“We shall prevail and going forward we are going to have to make forward the right to vote is important and that it is respected by all,” she said.
She told listeners that her legal team is “looking forward to arguing anew and afresh the validity of the recognisances. We have no doubt that we will prevail with that also.”
Meanwhile, Queen’s Counsel, Stanley “Stalky” John, the lead barrister on the team welcomed the ruling.
“We were gratified that the court gave us a fair hearing … Sometimes, there are problems but the court has sent the matter back and we see where we go from there,” he said, also on NICE Radio.
Speaking on the same radio station, Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday, who was also in St. Lucia for Tuesday’s hearing, said that the NDP’s lawyers are preparing to try the petitions on their merit.
“That is what we are about. What the other side does, is up to them.”
He said he hopes that when the respondents look at the evidence they would determine that they cannot win.
“I am confident, as I was in the appeal, that our petitioners would prevail, … so, therefore, the question of whether the elections in Central Leeward or North Windward were done properly that they would determine that this is a matter that they should simply just do it over.
“And I think the people of those constituencies, they have suffered long enough. It’s since 2015. These things should have been resolved in a matter of months… We are now in 2017 for an election that was done on the 9th of December 2015.
“We are still in a situation of limbo, and the country can’t really continue like that where you are not sure that the government that is in place is the government that you elected,” Friday said.