UPDATED- Election date to be announced tonight, says PM

While earlier in the day, Justice Marlene Carter had discharged the injunction she had granted to the opposition last week to prevent changes to the country’s electoral boudaries, she also accepted a request from the lawyers of the plaintiff, to hear arguments why her decision should be stayed, pending an appeal.

The Justice allowed the chief lawyer for the opposition, to outline his argument and at the end, late in the afternoon, she told both sides that she will reserve her final decision until Wednesday morning, (28th January).

So it is back to the courts on Wednesday to hear the final judgment of Her Ladyship.

The politcal temperature in St. Kitts and Nevis shot to higher levels on Tuesday afternoon (27th January) after the Court discharged an injunction secured by the opposition 11 days ago, delaying a Proclamation for new boundary changes, passed via resolution in the country’s National Assembly on Friday, 16th January, 2015.

Following the the decision to discharge the injunction by the High Court, which sat today in Basseterre, the government moved speedily ahead for the new election, which many have predicted will take place on 16th February.

However, MiyVue.com has learnt that lawyers for the opposition had requested the judge to grant a stay of execution on its decision to discharge the injunction, pending an appeal. The lawyers requested a re-instatement on the grounds of intended appeal and consequences relative to timing. 

Supporters for both the opposition and government were encouraged over the weekend to gather in the vicinity of the courthouse in a show of solidarity. Though some did respond as invited, the crowd levels were small. Police however had taken precuations and had cordoned off a section of the nearby Independence Square, perhaps as a security measure. Other police officers were observed around the Independence Square, in plain clothes, as added security and for intelligence gathering. No reports of viloence were howver reported. 

However while many have been speculating that elections will be staged on 16th February, the country’s prime minister on Tuesday afternoon, just minutes after the Court’s decision, told the nation in a live radio and television address that he will announce the date for election during a public meeting that his party has scheduled for Tuesday night (27th Jan) in Buckley’s, West Basseterre.

The prime minister also disclosed in his address that the Governor General has already issued the Writs for the conducting of the Election.

During the unscheduled address, the prime minister used the occasion to outline what he says have been the successes of his administration over the past five years and more.

Now that the polls are about to be called, the already heightened political activities are excpected to escalate as many have termed the upcoming poll as one of the most challenging ones in recent times.

However, with the boundaries being changed, there are other political pundits who feel that it gives a much better chance to the ruling St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, to improve its fortunes at the poll. This is so given the significant changes made to the boundaries under which the 2010 election was held. Those to be severely affected are the leaders of the opposition groups, PAM and the newly formed PLP. 

The new boundaries will see the town of Cayon being moved backwards to Constituency Seven, thereby removing a stronghold of the PAM’s Deputy Leader, and current MP, Eugene Hamilton. His leader, Shawn Richards in Sandy Point has also seen the district of Newton Ground, a SKNLP-leaning area, being tagged to Sandy Point which in the past helped to secure the victory for PAM.

PLP leader Dr. Timothy Harris has also seen the key stronghold of Tabernacle, his hometown, being re-aligned to Constituency Six, which is being contested by SKNLP leader Dr. Denzil Douglas and PAM’s Vernon Connor.

Changes too have been made to constituencies in Nevis, impacting the incumbents, Vance Amory and Mark Brantley, of the CCM, which along with PAM and PLP, have forged an opposition alliance called Team Unity, to contest the polls.

Another political development of Tuesday was the decision by authorities to refuse permission for the opposition to hold a public meeting in Central Basseterre, which this election could become a battleground constituency between the candidates for PAM-Jonel Powell, and SKNLP, Marcella Liburd.

With the police permission being withheld at the last moment, the opposition has now moved their meeting to Conaree, which too is an important district in Constituency Number Eight (8). Since Sunday, the opposition had been advertising that they had scheduled a rally for Central Basseterre.

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