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St Kitts-Nevis boundaries report struck down by court
Published on August 2, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

The claimants and members of the legal team at the courthouse in Basseterre after the judge's ruling

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- A Constituency Boundaries Commission report intended to effect boundary changes in St Kitts and Nevis has been struck down by the High Court. In his judgment on the case delivered in court on Thursday, Justice Darshan Ramdhani declared the report null and void.

Justice Ramdhani ruled that the report, which had already received parliamentary approval, should not be submitted to the governor general. The judge said, while the commission had done well on an initial process of consultation, it later declined to continue that process after it had finalized its recommendations, a position he ruled less than fair. The judgment deals a serious blow to the governing Labour Party’s plans to change the federation’s constituency boundaries ahead of the coming general election.

The claimants have hailed the decision as a victory for democracy. Opposition Team Unity leader Dr Timothy Harris found it difficult to contain his enthusiasm.

One commissioner who represents the opposition on the body, attorney Vincent Byron, feels his stand on the commission has been vindicated on the matter of the proposed boundary changes. Byron said he is fully satisfied with the judgment.

Justice Ramdhani made it clear in his judgment that the claimants – meaning the opposition MPs who brought the case -- failed to prove bias on the part of the chairman of the commission, Peter Jenkins.

The claimants and defendants were advised by the judge that both sides will have to pay their own costs. Prime Minister Denzil Douglas had told his party supporters several months ago that he was waiting on the proposed boundary changes being implemented, to announce an election date.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 4176

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