According to Team Unity leader Dr. Timothy Harris, the court cases were about protecting our democracy and fighting for justice, both delivered by the reinstatement of the injunction on the electoral boundaries proclaimed on 16thJanuary 2015.
“I see this as a victory for all people, all the citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. We now have a clear victory for democracy. This fight has always been about democracy, whether what was done or purported to be done in the parliament convened on the 16th of January met the critical threshold of justice,” said Harris.
He said that for the majority of people, something was wrong about the approach taken by the government on 16thJanuary, and that the ruling of the Privy Council gives guidance in relation to precedence, not only in the Federation, but also throughout the OECS and CARICOM regions and wider afield.
According to Harris, a critical aspect of the Privy Council’s ruling is that it gives absolute certainty of what constituency boundaries are to be used in the upcoming elections, and the list of voters must be based on the old electoral boundaries.
“Therefore the list which they should now submit to us as candidates, and to the citizens, must be properly posted according to law in two prominent locations related to the polling divisions,” said Harris, who expressed the hope that “good sense would prevail, and people would move expeditiously to ensure compliance with the spirit of the law and the judgment of the highest appeal Court”.
Meanwhile, Premier Vance Amory, speaking by way of a video on Team Unity’s Facebook page said, “The Privy Council has done our nation a great service by setting aside the ruling of Justice Carter and that of the OECS Court of Appeal. It’s a great day for us and for democracy. Justice has prevailed.
“It is a triumph for our law abiding values. It is a vindication of everything that is right and just, and of the perseverance of those who sort that justice,” the premier stated.
The Privy Council’s ruling was delivered mid-morning, 12th February, in a short session. The text of their ruling is as follows:
“After consideration of the Appellants’ appeal against the order made by the East Caribbean Court of Appeal, sitting as the court of appeal for St. Christopher and Nevis, on the 5th of February, 2015, and having heard submissions on behalf of the parties yesterday, on the 11th of February, 2015:
“First, the Board will humbly advise Her Majesty that the appeal should be allowed; that the orders made by Madame Justice Carter on the 27th January, 2015, and by the Court of Appeal on the 5th of February, 2015, be set aside and that the interim injunction granted by Madame Justice Carter on the 16th January, 2015, be restored.
“Second, the parties having, in their agreement and undertaking recorded in the order made by the Court of Appeal by consent on 5th February, 2015, agreed to use, for the purpose of the forthcoming election due to take place on Monday the 16th February, 2015, whatever list the Privy Council may determine as the appropriate list.
“It is determined and ordered that, firstly, the list to be used in the said election is and shall be that existing prior to and apart from the Proclamation bearing the Reference Number 2 of 2015, purportedly issued and published by the Governor General in Extraordinary Gazette No. 3 bearing the date 16th January, 2015: second; any effect which the said Proclamation would continue otherwise to have, whether in relation to any other election or otherwise, is hereby suspended until further order.
“All further questions regarding the said Proclamation or otherwise, and all questions of cost, be reserved.”