NRP leader Joseph Parry (right) and Hensley Daniel
By Andre Huie
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The government of St Kitts and Nevis will pay costs of just over $2.1 million associated with the Nevis election matter in both the high and appeal courts, according to the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).
The top brass of the party, at a press conference on Tuesday in Charlestown, insisted that they did nothing wrong and blasted the court for what they believe is an error in its judgment that besmirched their characters and affected the outcome of the Nevis Island election in January this year.
Just over a week ago, the court of appeal reversed the costs order against former Nevis premier Joseph Parry and his former deputy premier Hensley Daniel, after two former electoral officials told the court they were prepared to bear the full cost of the appeals at the high court and appeal court levels.
But Parry and Daniel interpret the court order differently, saying that both former registration officer Bernadette Lawrence and supervisor of elections Leroy Benjamin did not agree to pay costs. Parry says he was advised of this by his lawyer.
“The court awarded costs and the court used a loophole to pull Mr Daniel and I in as persons to pay the costs. The court is wrong and so we are no longer paying the costs but the costs remain,” Parry said.
“Those who remain responsible to pay the costs would pay the costs. That’s why I understood, but it’s not as if Mr Daniel’s costs and my costs are put on these two people; no,” declared the NRP leader.
To support Parry’s claims, NRP Senator Carlisle Powell, in the press conference, read from what appeared to be an electronic version of the court order to explain his interpretation of the order.
“The two officials from the electoral office said -- and I am reading the order -- each understands that if the application is granted as filed they would both be liable for the payment of all costs. My saying that I understand you is not the same as saying that I accept what you say,” Powell said before engaging in a debate with VON radio journalist Marcellos Lee on the interpretation of the court order and transcript.
Transcripts of the court proceedings indicate that the justices vigorously questioned the former registration officer and supervisor of elections about the implications of their agreeing to Parry and Daniel's names being removed from the court order. They assured that they had sought legal advice, and understood that if Parry and Daniel were not required to pay any cost of the proceedings that the cost will have to be paid by the two of them.
In 2012, the Appeal Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the election result in Nevis's St John’s District was null and void and slammed Lawrence for acting in “bad faith” and for demonstrating “misfeasance,” while Benjamin was found guilty of “reckless indifference” to whether or not he was breaking the law. The appeal court also ordered costs against Parry and Daniel on the alleged grounds of misfeasance and bad faith in relation to the compilation of the voters list.
Parry began the press conference by reading a submission reportedly made by Mark Brantley to the appeal court claiming that the court erred in its judgment regarding him and Daniel, as they are not responsible for the compilation of the voters list. Parry and Daniel both reiterated their stance that the court sought to besmirch their characters and believes removing them from the responsibility of paying costs is designed to cover up their mistake.
“For a court of law to come and say that I am guilty of bad faith and misconduct -- that borders on fraud,” Daniel said at the press conference on Tuesday.
“If the court, Mr Huie (speaking to WINN journalist Andre Huie), seeks to reach or to leap in order to hurt me, that’s a matter for them, it’s not a matter for me,” Daniel added.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network