This decision was taken Monday morning (2nd Feb.) following a request by Government lawyers to have the 9th February electoral boundaries appeal hearing brought forward to before 6th February, the date set aside for the nomination of candidates taking part in the nation’s 16th February general elections.
The appeal’s significance stems from the dismissal of the injunction against the use of the new electoral boundaries, as proclaimed by the governor-general on 16th January. Justice Marlene Carter has dismissed the injunction stating, among other things, that the proclamation was made before her signing of the injunction.
This matter was appealed by parliamentary opposition lawyers, and the appeal court issued a temporary injunction against the use of the new boundaries, specifically citing the supervisor of elections and the Electoral Commission. The appeals court had fixed 9thFebruary as the date to hear the opposition’s appeal.
On Friday last, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas indicated that the government would be making a request to have that appeal case heard earlier, before nominations day. That request was granted today.
The appeal case has relevance to parties contesting the upcoming elections, as it has implications on whether the old or the new constituency boundaries are used.
Opposition candidates have objected to the change in constituency boundaries so close to elections, the basis upon which the injunction was sought. But, there are other connected issues related to the controversial emergency sitting of the National Assembly, during which the new boundaries submitted to the governor-general were approved.
Opposition MPs protested the process indicating to the High Court that their rights to debate the matter were impinge on, and further, that the process infringed on their constitutional right for timely access to the court in seeking justice.
In two days time, the saga of the St. Kitts-Nevis constituency boundaries takes another step forward in the quest for a just solution.