By Andre Huie
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The Eastern Caribbean Appeal Court has granted a stay of all proceedings in the motion of no confidence matter, filed by the speaker of St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, Curtis Martin.
High court judge Justice Darshan Ramdhani ruled in February that there are no impediments to tabling the motion of no confidence against the government.
The stay was granted on the basis that the appeal “has met the required threshold” under the law, a release from the prime minister’s office states.
According to the release, the legal threshold includes the finding by the appeal court that the speaker’s intended appeal has real prospects of success at the hearing of the appeal.
Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas
“It would be good… for the court to finally hear… the constitutional matter that is brought before it, whether the court can direct the speaker as to what to place on the order paper and when,” Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas told WINN FM on Sunday.
“That is a principle that needs to be really tested, and it would be good for us to have that particular appeal matter heard, and the original motion as well to be heard. I think that this is something that is so fundamental to our democracy, and our parliamentary structure in particular, and the separation of powers between the court and the parliament and the executive. This is such a fundamental matter that it would be good for the court to give judgment on this matter,” Douglas said.
The motion of no confidence was filed by opposition leader Mark Brantley in December 2012, who months later, along with other opposition MPs, asked the court to rule on whether their constitutional rights were being violated by the motion not being tabled, and asked that the court instruct the speaker to table the motion.
The case was later withdrawn but the speaker brought the matter back to the court, arguing that there were important constitutional matters to be heard such as whether the court had the jurisdiction to instruct the speaker on matters pertaining to the conduct of parliament.
According to a statement from the legal team for the speaker, the ruling of the court of appeal is very significant.
The statement said the ruling vindicates the decision of the speaker to appeal the judgment of the high court and seek a stay of all proceedings before the high court.
The legal team also claimed the court of appeal decision exposes the misjudgment of those in civil society who demanded that the speaker had no choice but to allow the debate of the motion.
Efforts to contact a member of either legal team for a comment were unsuccessful up to news time.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network