Guy Joseph Seeks Court Action
THE opposition United Workers Party is moving to stop the recent report of the Boundaries Commission become law.
The report was adopted in both the House of Assembly and Senate last week and awaits the signature of the Governor General, Dame PearletteLouisy.
Guy Joseph, Member of Parliament for Castries South East Tuesday filed an action in the court seeking to prevent the Governor General from acting on the report. The petition will be heard on February 27 by Justice Francis Belle.
It was announced yesterday that Joseph, will be hosting “a very important press conference” today at his constituency office in Bexon.
In his application, Joseph said he was acting in his personal capacity and as parliamentary representative and a resident of Castries South East,
The move came less than a week after UWP leader Allen Chastanet called on civil society and other organizations to raise their voices in protest against the report, which recommends increasing the number of constituencies from 17 to 21 as of the next general elections scheduled for 2016.
The UWP has voiced concerns about the unfairness of the process which led the Commission to arrive at its decision, while also rejecting the suggestion that the number of constituencies should be increased.
Joseph spoke against the recommendations when the House of Assembly debated the report last week.
His application for the injunction filed in the court reads: “It is hereby ordered that her Excellency, the Governor General, by the Honourable Attorney General in her capacity as legal representative of the Governor General, be and is hereby restrained, whether by herself, her servants and her agents of persons subject to her control, authority or direction or howsoever otherwise from making any order or proclamation in terms of any draft submitted to her under Section 58 (6) of the constitution for a period of 14 days or until the further Order of this Honourable Court, whichever is earlier”.
The action is against the five members of the Boundaries Commission, on which the UWP is represented), the Prime Minister and the Attorney General, acting in her capacity as the legal representative of the Governor General.
The action by Joseph, assumes greater interest, in the light of last week’s ruling by the Privy Council denying the then Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr.Denzil Douglas, the right to have constituency boundaries realigned ahead of Monday’s general elections. The Privy Council ruled that the elections had to be contested with the old boundaries.
Although the situation in St Lucia is not on all fours with that in St. Kitts, the UWP is said to be questioning the independence of the commission, chaired by Speaker of the House of Assembly Peter Foster. The party claims to be in possession of a Commonwealth Secretariat report on a “St Lucia Constituency Boundaries Commission Assignment” undertaken in 1998 at the request of Prime Minister Kenny Anthony which made recommendations as to a process that should be followed in setting boundaries that would be fair to all parties.
Party sources are asking how is it that the government requested the assignment and then failed to implement its recommendations which they say, are vastly different from what the Foster Commission did in realigning boundaries this time around.
Sources close to the party claim that one of the recommendations of the Commonwealth Secretariat had to do with the de-politicizing and professionalizing of the Commission to avoid it being “paralyzed by its politicization”.