BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, March 13, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Attorney General in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Vincent Byron, clarified the ruling of the landmark judgement handed down by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) of Appeal in Castries, Saint Lucia, on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in which it ruled that Dr. Denzil Douglas, Leader of the St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition Labour Party and Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Six, must vacate his seat in the National Assembly with immediate effect.
In the appeal case between the Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis and Dr. Denzil Douglas, the learned judges concluded that “…Dr. Douglas, by his application for, receipt and use of a Dominican diplomatic passport, placed him in clear breach of section 28(1)(a) of the Constitution. As a matter of law, the consequence in the terms of section 33(3)(c) follows. That consequence is that, Dr. Douglas is required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly in Saint Christopher and Nevis.”
“It is hereby declared that Dr. Douglas, by reason of his becoming a person who, by virtue of his own act, is under an acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to the Commonwealth of Dominica in breach of section 28(1)(a) of the Constitution, is required, pursuant to section 31(3)(c) of the Constitution, to vacate his seat in the National Assembly,” the judgment added.
In an address to the nation on Thursday (March 12) evening, the Attorney General stated that, “This act, having occurred on the 30th of July, 2015, I am advised that the period of Dr. Douglas’ disqualification dates back to the 30th of July, 2015,” Attorney General Byron said.
The learned Attorney General further noted that, “It has to be emphasized that the effect of [Thursday’s] decision by the Court of Appeal is that every operation, every activity, every interview and every speech of Dr. Douglas as a member of electoral constituency known as Constituency Six was carried out by him since 30th July, 2015 while he was disqualified from Parliament, having disqualified himself by virtue of his own act.”
Minister Byron said the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis requires that there shall be a Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly who shall be appointed by the Governor General.
“With [Thursday’s] ruling and as Parliament is likely to meet over the next few weeks, the Governor General shall appoint an elected representative to the position of Leader of Opposition who appears likely to command the support of a majority of the representatives who do not support the Government. The power to do so shall be exercised by His Excellency the Governor General in his own deliberate judgement,” the Attorney General added.