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Lawyers file applications to have petitions struck out

Lawyers file applications to have petitions struck out

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Lawyers representing the supervisor of elections and other government officials have made applications to the High Court to have struck out, election petitions filed by two candidates for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the December 9, 2015 general elections.

When the court sits on March 4, the lawyers will present arguments showing why the petitions, {{more}}which were filed on December 31, 2015, should be dismissed on the grounds that the petitioners have failed to comply with the mandatory requirements under section 58(1), (b) and (c) of the Representation of the People Act and Rule 9 of the House of Assembly (Election Petition) Rules 2014.

According to the applications, the petitions filed by Lauron ‘Shearer’ Baptiste and Ben Exeter of the NDP should be dismissed, because they both failed to provide security costs, as required by law.

The petitions were filed against supervisor of elections Sylvia Findlay; Member of Parliament for North Windward Mont­gomery Daniel; Member of Parliament for Central Leeward Louis Straker; returning officers Winston Gaymes and Vil Davis; and presiding officers Kathleen Jeffers and Veronica John.

The applications, which will be argued on March 4, stated: “…the purported document filed on behalf of the Petitioner on the 5th day of January 2016… is not a lawful or proper security and does not provide the security required by the Representation of the People Act and House of Assembly (Election Petition) Rules.”

The applications further argue that both petitions should be dismissed because the “purported recognizance” was entered into and signed by the petitioners and not by sureties, and the petitioners are not and cannot be sureties under the law.

The lawyers for the Government argue that this is in contradiction to mandatory requirements under Section 58 (1) b and c of the Representation of the People Act, and Rule 9 of the House of Assembly (Election Petition) Rules 2014 – and subsequently render said petitions void.

Section 58 (1) b states: At the time of the presentation of the petition or within three days afterwards, security for the payment of all costs, charges and expenses that may become payable by petitioner… shall be given on behalf of the petitioner.

Section 58 (1) c states: The security referred to in paragraph (b) shall be an amount not exceeding five thousand dollars and shall be given by recognizance to be entered into by any number of sureties not exceeding four approved by the Registrar, or partly in one way and partly in the other.

Baptiste and Exeter had filed election petitions on December 31, 2015 seeking for it to be determined that Member of Parliament for North Windward Montgomery Daniel and Member of Parliament for Central Leeward Louis Straker respectively were not duly elected or returned and that the election was void or that Baptiste or Exeter respectively were duly elected and ought to have been returned.

They are also seeking an order for scrutiny and recount of all defective ballots, etc. The applications for dismissal of the petitions were prepared by Williams and Williams Barristers & Solicitors.

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