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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.

He added:

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“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 term.
The NDP won the remaining seven, in a repeat of the 2010 election results.  

4 replies on “Gov’t spends $649,500 to defend election petitions”

  1. Am I understanding this right? SVG taxpayers are footing the bill on behalf of the ULP candidates in an election fraud case? I remember a time here in Europe when job-candidates were asked on the employment questionnaire: Where do your parents come from? I never understood that, what it meant or what was the point. Well, I know now.

  2. The ULP or the candidates should be made to repay the money it belongs to all of the citizenship, not just ULP supporters.

  3. so who paying NDP legal fees …..the same tax payers !!!!!
    no sense whatsoever
    tell us whats the fees so far , I’m sure much more ……. more propaganda campaign

  4. Payment of such amounts is little more than an admission of guilt, because if nothing had been done wrong there would be nothing to defend.

    I believe the defence attorneys and firms that they have used have been paid at least double that sum.

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