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Government spends EC$649,500 on election petitions legal fees

Government spends EC$649,500 on election petitions legal fees
St Clair Leacock

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The government has spent EC$649,500 on legal fees in relation to the 2015 General Election petition cases.

This figure was revealed in Parliament on Tuesday by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves who was answering a question tabled by St Clair Leacock, the Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) filed the two petitions challenging the results in the Central Leeward and North Windward constituencies in the December 9, 2015 general elections, after the Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the elections, taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats.

The petitioners in the matter are candidates for the NDP, Benjamin Exeter and Lauron Baptiste, while the respondents are supervisor of elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb; successful ULP candidates Sir Louis Straker and Montgomery Daniel; returning officers Winston Gaymes and Vil Davis; presiding officers Kathleen Jeffers and Veronica John and the Attorney General.

On Tuesday, Gonsalves said that the legal fees were paid by way of Special Warrants issued in 2016 and 2017. He however noted that the legal fees paid by Special Warrant do not reflect payments of fees related to the named elected litigants (Straker and Daniel), as they are responsible for their own legal expenses.

“These are monies spent in respect of the Supervisor of Elections and the Attorney General in this matter…”, Gonsalves told Parliament.

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