Queen’s Counsel, Stanley “Stalky” John, lead lawyer for petitioner Benjamin “Ben” Exeter. (iWN file photo)

While the respondents in the election petitions case have suggested that some slight errors were made, the efforts were “substantial” and assault the intention of the Constitution.

That was one of the points that Queens Counsel Stanley “Stalky” John made, on Thursday, as he responded to the closing submissions in the case.

 “It is the petitioners’ respectful submission that the disenfranchisement of an entire polling station, over 200 persons in another polling station, one third of another polling station, those, cannot be slight errors,” John told the court.

He was referring to the fact that all the ballots in one polling station in Central Leeward and 200 in another did not have any official mark or the initials of the presiding officer, as required by law.

 “Those are substantial errors. Those are errors that go to the very principles on which the election should be conducted,” John said.

While the ballots were counted, the petitioners have argued that in verifying their authenticity immediately after the elector voted, electoral officials had to violate the secrecy of the vote.

The main opposition New Democratic Party is asking the court to declare void the elections in North Windward and Central Leeward, two of the constituencies that electoral officials say the Unity Labour Party won on its way to a 8-7 victory and a fourth term in office.

John said:

“It is the petitioners’ submission, my lord, that it cannot be consistent with the values of the Constitution that you cannot have an election that is not by secret ballot. That will not be an election consistent with what is provided for.”

He further stated:

“If indeed, there are, my lord, breaches of the rules which result in breaches of secrecy, in which case the election would not have been by secret ballot, then, on principles, based on [the rulings in the case of] Quinn Leandro, it is not a requirement that the election results ought to have been affected numerically in the same way. And to the extent that that is being put forward, that is not our submission.”

Kathleen Jeffers, a presiding officer at a Central Leeward polling station, admitted to making multiple “mistakes” in her conduct of the poll and at the final count.

A ruling in the case is slated for March 21. 

7 replies on “PETITIONS TRIAL: Stalky says election ‘errors’ offend constitutional rights”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    The abstract declarations of the Constitution are being used in lieu of the specific requirements of the Representation of the People Act which govern the conduct of election and which declares:

    “60. Notwithstanding anything contained inthe provisions of this Act, no election shall be declared invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of this Act or of the rules thereto or of the regulations made thereunder, or any mistake in the use of the forms prescribed under this Act, if it appears to the court having cognizance of the question that the election was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in this Act, and that such non-compliance or mistake did not affect the result of the election.”

    Mr. John cannot cite this Act because it shows that if all his concrete transgressions were valid they did not affect the result of the election.

    “61. At the trial of an election petition, the Court shall, subject to the provisions of this Act or of any rules or regulations thereunder, have the same powers, jurisdiction and authority, and witnesses, shall be subpoenaed and sworn in, in the same manner as nearly as circumstances will admit, as in a trial of a civil action in the High Court, and shall be subject to the same penalties for perjury.”

    This shows that the petitioners could have summoned Winston Gaymes as one of their witnesses and heavily interrogated him but chose not to do so for reasons only they know.

    1. THEY CHOSE NOT TO SUMMONS GAYMES BECAUSE YET AGAIN THEIR OWN INCOMPETENCE …….WE NEED TO REPLACE NDP MEANING WITH THE WORD ‘
      “INCOMPETENCE” …….PITY

  2. “the fact that all the ballots in one polling station in Central Leeward and 200 in another did not have any official mark or the initials of the presiding officer, as required by law.” Is enough grounds for rejection. On top of that the ULP actually declared themselves the winners even before the final tally. Are we supposed to dismiss these substantial errors? I think that the elections were stolen.

    1. “R”…..THAT OBJECTIVE QUESTION WILL BE ANSWERED SOONER THAN LATER ……….
      BUT IN THIS INSTANCE SOONER SHOULD HAVE BEEN FOUR YEARS EARLIER …LOL

  3. If they weren’t stolen they would never of employed all the overseas overpaid overinstructed
    lawyers to try and stop the case coming to court. If they did nothing wrong they would have welcomed the case and it would have been heard and ruled on within 3 months instead of 3 years.

    They are as guilty as hell, just their behaviour demonstrates that..

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