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NDP members to be sworn in at first House sitting

NDP members to be sworn in at first House sitting


The New Democratic Party (NDP) has decided that, contrary to its initial pronouncements, when the new Parliament has its first sitting on December 29, its members will attend to be sworn in.

President of the NDP Arnhim Eustace, in a statement read on Nice Radio yesterday, said the party has moved on from their originally proposed course of action,{{more}} being fully cognizant of statements they made regarding the “purported outcome” of the elections.

At a press conference on December 12, Eustace had said if he and his elected members were to go to Parliament, that would mean that the NDP had conceded defeat, “and we are not conceding!”

In his statement yesterday, Eustace said the party had been legally advised that the decision to not be sworn in could lead to the loss of the seven seats the NDP holds.

Eustace did not say from whom the legal advice came, but Queen’s Counsel Parnell Campbell, speaking on his ‘Law and You’ programme on SVGTV on December 14, advised the leadership of the NDP against taking this course of action.

Campbell said that the NDP should not go through with the threat of boycotting Parliament, as the Constitution and the rules that govern the house clearly state what should happen when a party has an issue.

“We refused to be sworn in; however, I’m legally advised that that decision could lead to the loss of all the seats the NDP now holds and based on that, we will now be sworn in,” said Eustace, who added that they do not wish at this time to take this action and endanger the seats that they currently hold.

He stressed that their new decision is in no way a sign of weakness, but a strategic move in the interest and the benefit of all.

“I want to reiterate that we do not accept the elections results and that we will continue robustly and unflinchingly with legal and other protest action,” said Eustace adding, “we want justice and fairness for all and we are determined that our people and our country must prosper again.”

He said that in the past, the NDP took the decision to leave Parliament on a number of occasions and that option is always open to them.

“We in the NDP and supporters and well-wishers do not accept the results and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our people to ensure that the will of the people prevails,” said Eustace yesterday.

Last Thursday, Benjamin Exeter, candidate for the NDP in Central Leeward made an application to the High Court, which marked the beginning of the NDP’s legal action against the results of the general elections. (LC)