Coming at the time it came, one is bound to ask, “What were they thinking?” Why put to the public such a message which had all fingers pointed in their direction? It is the CCM that caused the chaos that their message purports to prevent. Does it make sense for one to light a fire and when it gets out of control they rush to call the fire brigade and then beat their chest that they stopped further spread of the fire?
That is an abuse of a people’s intelligence. Nevisians are not as gullible as to not fathom actions by the Petitioner after Justice Lionel Jones ruled in the election petition case on Wednesday March 21. The Petitioner called for celebrations and demanded that the incumbent NRP-led government leave office claiming that it was a minority government and making loud appeals that Hon Hensley Daniel vacate his (Brantley’s) seat.
It was a whirlwind week for Nevisians and residents alike after the Petitioner, who is a respected officer of the Court, sought to deny the Hon Hensley Daniel, in particular and the entire of Nevis in general their Constitution right to appeal after the Judge handed down the decision. Even his colleagues, the Hon Vance Amory and Hon Alexis Jeffers travelled to St. Kitts and had audience with the Governor General. No word has come out from their corner as to what they achieved.
That is a laughable matter. Yes, the Judge handed down the decision and the Petitioner (a lawyer by profession) knows that everyone is entitled to an appeal. However, what the Petitioner and his CCM party tried to paint as a grey area, suggesting that Nevis was in a void in terms of leadership, was nothing short of trying to incite their members to cause chaos.
That Justice Jones declared results of the July 11, 2011 elections in the St. John’s Constituency invalid and void, the Petitioner and members of his CCM party know very well that unless such information is communicated to the Governor General, the first Respondent (Hon Hensley Daniel) could not have walked away. It is very unfortunate that the Petitioner went to the lows of asking the first Respondent to go and cut grass. The first Respondent taught him Spanish in high school — is that how the CCM intends to treat professionals on Nevis?
A prominent Manhattan-based Nevisian lawyer, Mr Carl Nisbett posted on the SKN list on Friday March 23information he felt Nevisians need to understand. He said: “For the practitioners and/or those familiar with procedure in SKN — is there a period of time before a decision becomes final? Does the decision remain ‘not final’ to provide for a period of days let’s say to move the Court for a rehearing/reconsideration of the issues it has decided?
“I think the question can be answered if a decision of the Court has to be certified or filed as a final decision before it becomes a final decision for which an appeal as of right lies in the election petition case.
“Let me explain for those who might not understand. Judge Jones has rendered his decision. In some jurisdictions, the fact that he’s rendered his decision does not make it a ‘final decision’ that is
appealable. It has to be first filed or certified by the Court clerk as a final decision and that certification or filing is not immediate so as to give either party the opportunity to seek a rehearing or
reconsideration on the issues decided.”
In a reckless disregard of the fact that the NRP had filed an appeal and were waiting for a stay of execution to be granted, the CCM went ahead and called for a march on Monday March 26, and invited persons from St. Kitts to join them. But when they came to Charlestown, their unofficial leader (who admitted to chartering the boat) said on radio that he was in Charlestown to fight the leadership of Prime Minister the Hon Dr Denzil Douglas. Why leave Douglas in St. Kitts and come to fight him in Nevis?
At the rally, the Petitioner was widely heard on radio and quoted by the print media, asking Hon Daniel to vacate the St. John’s seat saying it was his (Petitioner’s). Is the Petitioner aware that his political leader and the experienced Hon Vance Amory has been in the Parliament for over 23 years, yet he has never claimed that there is a seat with his name on it in any of the two parliaments?
Was the Petitioner trying to set a precedent to give way to artisans to go to the august houses and write names of parliamentarians on their seats (even though one has to be elected first yet the Petitioner is not)? Justice Lionel Jones did not give a seat to the Petitioner. Even if the Judge had found Hensley Daniel guilty of an election offence (which he did not), all he would have done would have been to declare the results invalid and void, bar Daniel (not NRP) from contesting and never would he have given it to Mark Anthony Graham Brantley.
During the march, Hon Brantley stated: “Let us go back to the polls, next week.” Does he have respect for the Constitution? Even though a stay of execution had not been granted at that time, was Brantley not aware of the fact that a by-election is supposed to be held within 90 days? Mr. Michael Perkins (CCM’s candidate in St. Paul’s during the last elections) who is not a lawyer had the commonsense to say that they were ready to wait for a few months – the months the Constitution allows.
Then comes the mother of all confusion when on March 28 at 12:32 PM, Mr Mervin Hanley posted on Nevis Politics website: “The Concerned Citizens Movement today CONSENTED to a stay of execution of the decision of Mister Justice Jones declaring the seat of Hensley Daniel null and void. On the advice of Counsel and to prevent further chaos in our beloved Nevis, the CCM agreed to a stay on the condition that the appeal will be expedited and be dealt with in a matter of a few weeks.”
They all along knew that Hon Hensley Daniel was entitled to an appeal, but they moved and behaved in a manner as though it is them who direct how things would be done. They fired up their faithful followers to rant and chant with them demanding the St. John’s seat in total disregard of the status quo which must be maintained. After they were cornered by the granting of the stay of execution they issued that statement. It should have come with an apology to the peace-loving people of Nevis.
But after all the ranting and chest thumping and asking Hon Daniel to go and cut grass, the Petitioner has filed a cross appeal. According to the first Respondent’s lawyer Dr Henry Browne, during the meeting with the Court of Appeal, via teleconference on Friday March 30, both parties were able to arrive at a position and agreed that Hon Brantley is permitted to appeal the judgement.
Is the Petitioner’s call for the highly qualified and well respected regional consultant and first Respondent to go and cut grass a harbinger of what his party, the Concerned Citizens Movement, has in store for Nevisians and residents who do not subscribe to their political philosophy? If Daniel could be consigned to cutting grass, what about the hundreds of Nevis’ hard working high school graduates?
What is important to Nevisians and in particular voters in St. John’s Constituency is the fact that a stay of execution was granted on Wednesday March 28 and until the appeal is heard on July 3, a status quo is in place and the Nevis Reformation Party government is in place. Hon Hensley Daniel is the Deputy Premier and Minister of Social Development, Health, Youth, Sports, Community Development, Culture, Trade, Industry and Consumer Affairs.