By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts and Nevis (WINN) -- A stout defence of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court has been mounted by former Chief Justice Sir Brian Alleyne after it was accused by former deputy premier Hensley Daniel of having a hand in the defeat of the Nevis Reformation Party at the polls. Both Daniel and former premier Joseph Parry have suggested that they were short-changed by the court.
Their comments followed the court’s decision last week that released Parry and Daniel from paying costs in an election petition that saw the 2011 election of Daniel declared null and void.
“And I can’t exonerate the court, because I cannot see how any appeals judge could come to a decision based on fiction, based on fiction not fact,” Parry said, while quoting one “distinguished” lawyer in the Caribbean who reportedly alleged that the OECS legal system is full of incest. Daniel went even further than his leader in the allegations against the court.
“It tells me again that in our legal system in the Caribbean, our judges have been unable to separate their personal from the professional,” Daniels told WINN FM. He claimed that the ruling which led to him losing his parliamentary seat in Nevis was a “bad decision”.
“It was intended, I am going to insist that it was intended to hurt us politically, and it cost us a whole election,” Daniel alleged. However, Alleyne warned against hurling such aspersions at the OECS court.
Sir Brian Alleyne (Photo: Dominica News Online)
According to Alleyne, the justices involved are known to do a professional and impartial job.
“Unfortunately that kind of criticism is fairly widespread, but I don’t think it’s at all justified,” Alleyne told WINN FM. “There seems to be an attitude in the Caribbean that if one party loses a case before the court, it’s on the basis of bias, not on the basis of merit.”
The former acting chief justice said he had served for many years on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and that every now and then there would pop up “a question that may have some legitimacy”. Alleyne said generally though the decisions of the court are justified by the law and the evidence before it.
“I think in terms of its absence of bias, its balance in dealing with issues, I think our court stands up to any other court in the world,” the retired jurist concluded.
NRP’s Joseph Parry and Hensley Daniel don’t quite share that view at the moment.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network