CCM’s Injunction: “as irrelevant, as horse manure is to law” Says NRP Lawyer

However, in a very heated response on Tuesday, 15th January, 2013, one of the senior lawyers for the incumbent Nevis Reformation Party, NRP, Mr. Anthony Astaphan, dismissed the actions of the Concerned Citizens Movement, CCM, as a “dishonest piece of political trickery and one that is a desperate political act by (CCM’s Deputy Leader), Mark (Brantley).

Astaphan said that Brantley obviously believes he is going to lose the election to Mr. (Hensley) Daniel of the NRP, and he has therefore come up with a stunt.

The NRP lawyer is of the view that Brantley could not be serious because he conceded before, at the Court of Appeal, that the findings of misfeasance against Mr. Daniel and Mr. Joseph Parry were improperly made.

“I really don’t know how to describe it and would appear extra ordinarily disrespectful, if I really had to say what I thought of it,” stated Astaphan.

But CCM, in a press statement on Monday 14th January, indicated that “Both Parry and Daniel featured prominently in the disputed elections of July 11, 2011 which led to the historic decisions by the High Court and Court of Appeal to declare the election of Hensley Daniel null and void. In addition the Court of Appeal castigated both Mr. Parry and Mr. Daniel of being “guilty of misconduct and bad faith”.

CCM added that “Mr. Parry was also severely chastised for his role in using the resources of the State owned media exclusively for his NRP Party and refusing to permit the CCM access to the State owned Media. In addition, both Courts found as proven facts that Bernadette Lawrence, disgraced Registration Officer who illegally disenfranchised hundreds of perceived CCM supporters just days before the July 11 2011 elections, did what she did to benefit her party, the NRP, and that she put her party ahead of her duties under the law. The now disgraced supervisor of Elections, Leroy Benjamin, was equally castigated and he and Bernadette Lawrence were both found guilty of misfeasance in public office. Both have since resigned,” argued CCM.

The papers filed by the CCM seek declaratory and injunctive relief against Parry and Daniel. Of Parry it is said that he cannot contest another election for at least 5 years under the provisions of section 28(3) of the Constitution and of Daniel it is said that persons (being the now disgraced electoral officials) promoted or procured his election through illegal or
corrupt practices and that such practices were so pervasive that his election was declared void. In such a case, section 97 of the National Assembly Elections Act makes it plain that he cannot contest the election to fill the seat created by the vacancy, claimed the CCM.

Astaphan refuted that argument by stating that the grounds on which Mr. Brantley “raises the issue is as irrelevant as horse manure is to law”.  The NRP lawyer accepted that the Election Laws have provisions that merely state that parliament may prescribe laws for certain matters if persons are tried and convicted by a court of a criminal offense related to certain matters, and as such they would be disqualified.

But the Dominican based lawyer argues that there has been no law prescribed by parliament, therefore there has been no conviction of a criminal offense of Parry and Daniel.

“What I find particularly offensive is that Mr. Brantley is seeking to drag the court into the political arena because he and his lawyers had stated that the findings of misconduct, in relation to the voters list made by the Court of Appeal was wrong and they accepted that the Court of Appeal would have the right to reopen the matter.”

Astaphan was again dismissive and somewhat angered when he described the CCM’s new court action as …forensic engineering in order to assist somebody who obviously feels he is going to lose the election and needs something to assist in pulling the wool over the eyes of the electorate.

However, on Monday 14th January, each party nominated its full slate of 5 candidates for the same number of available constituencies on the island.


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