The government has paid lawyers EC$649,500 to defend the petitions that the opposition New Democratic Party has filed, challenging the outcome of the December 2015 general elections.
Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves made the disclosure in Parliament on Tuesday in response to a question from Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, an opposition legislator.
Leacock asked a six-part question about government financing, including about the number of Special Warrants that were issued in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, and the expenditure by way of Special Warrant for legal fees attendant upon the election petitions before the court.
Gonsalves said that the special warrants for the legal fees were issued during 2016 and 2017 and none were issued in 2018.
“It is important to note that the legal fees paid by special warrant do not in any way reflect payment for the fees related to the named elected litigants — the Honourable Member for Central Leeward and the Honourable Member for North Windward. They are responsible for their own legal expenses and these are monies spent in respect of the defence of the supervisor of elections and the Attorney General in this matter.”
Benjamin “Ben” Exeter and Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste of the main opposition New Democratic Party are challenging the election of the Unity Labour Party’s Sir Louis Straker and Montgomery Daniel in Central Leeward and North Windward.
Electoral officials say that the ULP won those and six other seats in
the 15-member Parliament to be returned to office for a fourth consecutive
The NDP won the remaining seven, in a repeat of the 2010 election results.