Leader of the main opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP), Gaston Browne, says his party will not be fearful of the ruling to be made by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in two matters that could have an impact on the general elections later this year.
“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no reason to be fearful of the decisions. As far as I am concerned, let’s say the unlikely event there is a loss, it will be inconsequential for us in the sense that we are ready for the elections and we have made it abundantly clear, old list, new list, old boundaries, new boundaries, we will definitely defeat the UPP (United Progressive Party ).”
Chief Registrar of the Appeals Court, Kimberly Cenac Phulgence Tuesday informed attorneys that the the ruling would be made on April 28.
ALP lawyer Samantha Marshall said the judgments would be handed down when the itinerant Court of Appeal sits in the British Virgin Islands from Monday, two days after the Parliament here is scheduled to be automatically dissolved.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has said in the past that his hands were tied with regards to naming a date for the general election in light of the two court matters filed by Browne.
The Court of Appeal will determine whether the electoral list coming resulting from the September 30 to November 4, 2013, registration exercise is lawful and can be used for general elections.
The High Court had earlier ruled the list lawful, but the ALP appealed contending that the 2010 amendment to the electoral law, under which the registration exercise was conducted, ought not to have been applied retroactively.
But Attorney General Justin Simon QC, one of the respondents to the ALP’s appeal, had argued that Parliament had the power to change the rules at any given time.
In the other matter, the Court of Appeal had been asked to ascertain whether the Boundaries Commission was fair in its preparation of its report which the ALP said was biased and unfavourable to the party’s political candidates.
Browne, speaking on a local radio here on Tuesday night, said he had no regret in filing the matters before the Appeals Court, saying it was in the best interest of the nation.
“So I want to make it abundantly clear that these litigations are really public interest litigations. They are not designed to score cheap political points.
“We consulted widely, we consulted with James Gutherie Q.C in the United Kingdom, we all know Anthony Astaphan in Dominica, Elliot Mottley in Barbados and all of them unanimously agreed that there were elements of gerrymandering and there was certainly disenfranchisement and they advised us to take this matter to court.
“So these litigations were not trivial in any way,” he added.
In the 2009 general election, the UPP won nine of the 17 seats with the remainder going to the ALP