Reports indicating that Opposition Leader Allen Chastanet has been granted a leave of absence to return to the sitting of parliament, pending the outcome of a vote by legislators in the Lower House to lift his suspension is being labelled as misguided and fabricated statements.
On Monday, Chastanet appeared in court to contest against the suspension from the parliamentary chambers.
The Micoud South Member of Parliament lodged a legal suit against the House Speaker and Attorney General and Principal Legal Adviser Leslie Mondesir, in which he claimed that the suspension was unlawful and should be overturned.
In another twist to the case, it was reported that an affidavit had been filed by Dr. Ernest Hilaire – Leader of Government Business in the Lower House indicating that government members planned to pass a motion at the next House Sitting to lift the suspension.
Chastanet sought the court’s indulgence to overturn the suspension. He argued that the Speaker had no power to order his arrest when he intended to leave the House voluntarily.
According to reports, after negotiations were completed between the parties, the Opposition Leader’s legal team was directed to terms of condition for a formal promise or undertaking, which was given by the Speaker to the Court.
The purported undertaking outlines as follows;
– To invite Claimant to attend the next sitting of the House, whenever that should occur;
– Not to exclude or cause to be excluded the Claimant from entering the House or the precincts of the House;
– To allow the Claimant to take his seat in the House, but not participate in proceedings, pending the vote on the motion to lift the suspension of the Claimant;
– The motion to lift the suspension of the Claimant shall be the first matter to be dealt with by the House at the next sitting of the House, whenever that should occur; and
– Upon the motion being carried the Claimant will be at liberty to carry on his duties in service of the House.
Subsequently, it is reported that Chastanet will therefore be attending all future sittings of the House.
The Micoud South MP’s claim that his suspension and detention were unlawful has been scheduled for case management and trial later this year.
Meanwhile, taking to the electronic media to host his Straight Up show, on Monday, Francis contended that there has never been an instance whereby the House Speaker suspended any parliamentarian from the house sitting.
“This Speaker has never suspended anybody,” he explained. “The suspension of the Micoud South MP was done by the House of Assembly, not the speaker.”
Francis said that the judge had attempted to expedite the case, but since legal representatives of the opposing parties indicated they would be undisposed until July the case management and trial date was set for July 28.
Citing postings listed by members or persons affiliated to the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Francis denied reports that stated Dr. Hilaire had filed an affidavit in court to overturn the suspension of Chastanet from House sittings.
Providing a brief on the latest court sitting, he stated: “No injunctive relief was given to anybody, no ruling was made by the court (today)…an agreement was arrived at between Mr. Chastanet’s lawyer and the respondents lawyers based on an affidavit by the Leader of Government Business and Deputy Prime Minister, which had nothing to do with the merits of the case.”
In shedding light on the matter, Francis said, the case is not about the Speaker and that “even Mr. Chastanet’s lawyers recognize that what the Speaker did was in keeping with the Standing Orders and what the House did was in keeping with the Standing Orders.
“Ninety-nine (99) percent of Mr. Chastanet’s application to the court is that the Standing Orders upon which the Speaker and the House relied are unconstitutional.”
Added Francis: “They have not found anything wrong with the procedure, so they have now gone to the court for the court to decide. The substance of his case is that the Standing Orders …which states that the House and the Senate shall have the power to make rules to regulate its own procedure.”
Speaking on the Straight Up show, Anthony Astaphan SC, counsel for the government side said the order of the court was precisely what the legal team had anticipated.
“There was no determination by the court for or against Mr. Chastanet, or for or against the Attorney General and the Speaker,” the counsellor explained. “What the court agreed to, as a result of a negotiated agreement between Mr. Chastanet’s lawyers and myself. There are substantiative clauses in there …which were absolutely to our satisfaction.”
Astaphan said, they felt “the order reflected a sufficiently clear pathway to moving forward to the determination of the trial, because the trial has not been heard.”
He noted: “In fact, the judge has not made a single finding or factor for or against Mr. Allen Chastanet.”
Contrary to postings from the UWP personnel, which the counsellor deemed were “very misleading statements” and summing up the matter, Astaphan contended: “At no time did Dr. Ernest Hilaire make an admission to any wrongdoing, in fact he confirmed the position of the elected members of government that in the interest of the constituents, in the constituency held by the Leader of the Opposition …it would be in the interest of their constituents (not Mr. Chastanet) to put an end to the sanctions.”
You have just validated my point, Chastanet is a pathological liar. How can someone with no integrity assume the highest position in the land? Time and time again we have seen that Chastanet has a penchant for stating barefaced lies, distortions, half-truths, and conspiracy theories. The man has a reckless disregard for the truth. The habitual spewing of falsehoods by Allen Chastanet isn’t meant to win any battle of ideas because he has not demonstrated to have any whatsoever. His primary objective is to prevent the actual battle of ideas from being fought, by causing us to simply give up. How can such mediocrity be the opposition leader?
A HOUSE DIVIDED PART II
You and I know that a house divided cannot stand, consider yourself all brothers and sisters in the Lord if you say in your mouth and profess to your brethren, that you love Almighty God! Then in his circle, there should be no hatred between brethren. Saint Lucians don’t forget that you are living on a little Island, enough to squeeze into a cup, hatred, wickedness, backbiting, and all that makes for hatred should cease, indeed the power of God is enough to manifest in the righteous, and the righteous shall inherit the land, please love thy neighbor.
In Saint Lucia, we all should be neighbors, and in reality, we all are, you are all sons and daughters of Saint Lucia, different colors but individual one person. Since you possess human weakness and are not able to control it, why not agree to disagree with your peers, many hands make light work, and a still tongue makes a head wise, if you must live in a state of madness consider yourself no better than those who persecute you, for the evil goes like a lion roaming seeking whom it can devour, be brave Lucian seek peace among all thing and yourselves.
Point out each other errors in a civilized professional manner, avoid wrath keep your cool, some of you are given gifts of gab, and others smarts, and still, others are given wisdom but lack knowledge, the spreading of malicious gossip by those of opportunity is a dead end and destruction to a nation, yes the nation of simply beautiful Saint Lucia.
Of course, the pen is mightier than the sword, he says and she says is never good news, why not use positive vibrations to touch the nation, congratulation Jazz festival was a success, use a veneer like this as a platform to come together for the benefit of your people, let your efforts be seen as a mirror reflecting Saint Lucia outwardly to all people of all kinds.
Negativity only resides in losers, be positive that influence progressive people, print some good news today, and become your brother’s keeper, we are all of one father.
Hoping and praying for my Saint Lucia.