The only guaranteed winner regardless of the verdict in the election petitions case is Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
That is according to former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, who is founder of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), which has brought two petitions challenging the results of the 2015 election.
The High Court will next Wednesday, March 6, hear oral submissions in the case, following the hearing of oral evidence from Feb. 11 to 20.
Acting High Court judge, Justice Stanley John will hand down a ruling on March 21.
Speaking on Boom FM on Tuesday, Sir James said that the judge cannot order a by-election.
He, however, said that if the irregularities that have emerged so far in the case mean that the election was void, there has to be a by-election.
“Immediately that there is a by-election, the ball is in the court of one man: Ralph E. Gonsalves. Not that I love Ralph but I know what the constitutional position is, and we have to understand that.”
Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP) was declared winner of the Dec. 9, 2015 election by winning eight of the 15 parliamentary seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.
Sir James said that should the judge rule that the election in any of the two constituencies was void, Gonsalves is the one to decide whether he will have a by-election or call general elections.
Gonsalves has said that if there is an unfavourable ruling in the petitions case he would opt for a general election rather than a by-election.
Sir James said that a general election or by-election is “governed by the 90-day provision”.
“In other words, if the government becomes a state of 7-7, the prime minister can then decide — and he has 90 days to make up his mind,” he said.
He noted that the governor general cannot tell the prime minister on what day to have an election, neither does the prime minister have to tell the opposition leader about a decision to dissolve Parliament.
“I am not giving a Son Mitchell opinion. I am trying to lay the facts of the Constitution,” Sir James said.
“So, I am saying, if we win, Ralph also wins. I mean, I could be crucified for that but the point is the constitution, if we win, the ball is in Ralph’s court, not ours, for the next step. Not nice, but so be it.
“That is why I insist, I have said so before, you do not win elections in the court house, you win them on election day.”
He said that once a prime minister is sworn in, he has won the election.
“… the second after the prime minister is sworn in, he can dissolve parliament and call any election… For God’s sake, please understand these things. Understand it is not Ralph Gonsalves, it is the power of the office.”
He said that should the government fall, it can use the 90 days before an election must be held “to consolidate their position by putting in new civil servants and etc., etc. and they start their campaign with their resources.
“Remember they have the treasury on their hand. If we win the petition and it becomes 7-7, the government still controls the treasury for 90 days. Those are startling facts.”
It is just unfortunate when our people spend so much valuable time on every day party-politics but; so little time on analyzing the various options of strategies for positioning, base on the constitution.
Is it because we are a culture so betrayed by the thought of imperialism, that today we have become too lazy in exploring, therefore are easily distracted from a means to getting there? The slogan of ‘5 in a row’ is just a watchword. You the Voters define the ultimate truth to the matter.
When Sir James says, “For God’s sake, please understand these things. Understand it is not Ralph Gonsalves, it is the power of the office” regarding the constitutional requirements surrounding the election petitions, this is a thinly veiled reference to what he has called our “breadfruit mentality,” a metaphor for our lack of understanding of anything but the simplest of issues, something I have been saying for years, a claim that has earned me the reputation of hating SVG and her people.
Do Sir James and the Honourable Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, who has often berated us for our lack of understanding deserve the same labels?
As for the substance of Sir James’ remarks, it should be obvious to anyone without a breadfruit mentality that if one or more of the petitions are successful Dr. Gonsalves would call either a by-election (or two) or a national election depending on the results of the post-verdict poll he would immediately recruit Peter Wickham of CADRES to conduct.
C. ben-David, you are doing nothing but insulting fellow Vincentians by posting such a ridiculous comment and trying to be sly about it. also why are you comparing yourself to a Former and Current PM get a grip. reading is not always comprehending but our Breadfruit Mentality also allows us to recognize degenerates. opinions are just that at the end of the day and 90% of the time no one cares similar to an asshole everyone has one. you seem educated so i’ll offer you some advice “pipe down, a wise head keeps a still tongue”.
Mr. Mitchell should go enjoy his retirement and stop throwing soot in the food, appearing to vindicate the Gonsalves regime. All of you who go around accusing people of breadfruit mentality do so because you know the dirty politics that is happening in SVG is real. As I see it, if the Judge decides in favor of the petitioners then the government is not legitimate. The travesty of this whole affair is the amount of time it took and the cost to taxpayers.
If you think ordinary folks don’t understand their situation, I can assure you that when every year the price of bread becomes ten cents more expensive and your salary remains the same as five years ago while taxes increase and the cost of school books and uniforms go up you don’t need a scholar to explain that. Talk is cheap.
MY BROTHER ITS FUNNY YOU MENTIONED THAT BECAUSE THATS THE COMMON NARRATIVE WORLDWIDE THESE DAYS ……TAXES AND BILLS INCREASE WILL OUR SALARIES REMAIN THE SAME ….INCLUDING HERE IN THE SO CALLED GREAT USA.
THATS WHY IM GLAD I DONT WORK FOR A BOSS AND I CAN GIVE MYSELF A RAISE .
#ENTREPRENEURSHIP #LEADERS #OWN #BOSS #CEO
WHEN WILL THE PEOPLE REALIZE POLITICIANS ARE FOR THEMSELVES AND ONLY GIVE IF THEY RECEIVE
Often I do not agree with you AL but this time I do nearly all the way. The part I do not agree with is, and maybe you were just generalizing, that taxes are going up everywhere and wages stay the same. This is not true in many places in Asia. Taxes are going up everywhere but in much of Asia (Viet Nam, Cambodia, Siri Lanka, etc…) wages are as well. The West is clearly in decline. In SVG we never had our time of prosperity, (not even the banana years), because in the Caribbean most of the politicians are self-serving and care little about thier countries. Why should the PM of SVG get the same salary as leaders in countries like France, Germany, USA and Canada? The PM of SVG actually gets far more benefits than all these leaders. Entertainment allowance, travel expense, etc…
Establishing your own business is the only possibility one has. See all the street vendors in SVG. Street Vendor is by far the biggest industry in SVG. It is the only industry that employs more than our massively huge government. SVG probably has the biggest percentage of its population employed by the government. We pay such high taxes in order to pay for all these people. At least the street vendors attempt to take care of themselves.
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