Letters & Opinion

Oh, What a Tangled Web we Weave When First we Practice to Deceive

By James Stanislaus

THE Rovergate Affair was brought to the forefront of our political lexicon three years ago and has made the headlines on numerous occasions. Not surprisingly, Rovergate has once again reared its ugly visage in a completely new form. A completely worrisome form, to the extent that, recently, a sitting judge felt pressured in the execution of his duties.

We are all aware that St. Lucia has changed dramatically since the 2021 General Elections. Many St. Lucians have adopted total silence in response to this government’s dreadful performance versus standing up and speaking out for what is right. This Silence will eventually lead to our downfall where our rights will be severely compromised. The final arbiter of our rights ends with our judiciary.

However, if recent events in the High Court of this land are indicative of an emerging, sinister trend, then we can no longer rely on this revered institution and consequently mayhem will reign. We simply have to look around the globe and observe what takes place in the various failed states to understand what our future will be.

Today, we witness the ongoing adversity in our House of Parliament. We see a government that refuses to be accountable for the many misguided decisions it has taken. A rancorous government that refuses to rein in its unparalleled victimization of those who it does not agree with. The Leader of The Opposition has persistently stood up for all of St. Lucia not only for his Party, in trying to bring a level of fairness and democracy to this nation. This government considers itself ‘El Supremo’ because of its handsome majority in Parliament. However, their posturing and stiff-necked attitude will most likely come to an end when the people of this country decide who stays and who goes at the next General Elections.

The Rovergate Affair will soon become an international disgrace for St. Lucia, as the Supreme Court will decide on a matter without the interference of outside forces. For the guidance of our readers, here is a verbatim account of the Order in the above-mentioned High Court matter.

“ORDER UPON the fixed date claim filed 9th May 2023 coming on for case management conference;

“AND UPON HEARING Counsel for the respective parties; AND UPON THE COURT having formed the view that in light of certain correspondence having been sent to the Registrar of the High Court by one of the parties named in the current proceedings, one of which came to the attention of the Judge having conduct of this matter;

“AND NOTWITHSTANDING that the abovementioned correspondence related specifically to the proceedings in the present claim and was a memorandum dated 15th May 2023 and directed to the Registrar of the High Court for the attention of the Judge having conduct of these proceedings;

“AND WHEREAS in the court’s view, the above-mentioned memorandum referred to the conduct of one of the parties subsequent to the hearing of 15th May 2023 it was not copied to any of the other parties to the proceedings or their legal practitioners but was in fact copied to the following persons, namely: “Mr. Allen Chastanet in his capacity as Political Leader of the United Workers Party” and “The Secretary General of the United Worker’s Party” – it was this latter fact that the court finds exceedingly egregious notwithstanding that the correspondence for all intents and purposes appeared to be an interdepartmental memorandum and not an official correspondence to the Office of the High Court;

“AND WHEREAS said memorandum was carbon copied to the General Secretary of the United Workers party who was not a party to the present proceedings;

“AND UPON IT BEING MADE TO APPEAR to the Judge having conduct of the present proceedings that separate and apart from the correspondence already referred in the preceding paragraph to in this order, other correspondence came from the same party who has an interest in the present proceedings before this court which had the effect of an investigation being convened by the Registrar of the High Court at the same time that these proceedings were alive before this court; and the conduct of any such investigation, the findings of the same and any correspondence and exchanges related to the same not having been disclosed to or brought to the attention of the Judge having conduct of the present proceedings the subject of which the said inquiry was made;

“AND UPON IT ALSO having come to the attention of the court having conduct of these proceedings that on the morning of the hearing of 15th May 2023, two of the named litigants repaired to the office of the Registrar of the High Court to inquire as to the reason for the timing of the said application for interim injunction made by the Claimant in Claim No. SLUHCV2023/0189;

“AND WHEREAS in the court’s considered view, the combined effect of the circumstances mentioned in this order has the effect of being suggestive that there exists some propinquity between officers of the High Court or the Judge having conduct of the matters in which one of the parties has an interest;

“AND WHEREAS if the party who made the inquires and who had directed the memorandum to the Registrar of the High Court for the attention of the presiding judge had any concerns regarding the conduct of the matter before the court, then the proper procedure, in the court’s view, ought to have been to forward or telegraph their concerns to the opposing party and thereafter seek an audience before the presiding judge with counsel for the opposing party being present to discuss these concerns;

“AND WHEREAS the court is of the considered view that the circumstances which the court has identified in this order that a fair minded and informed observer, having considered the facts and circumstances of the present case may likely conclude that there exists a real possibility that the presiding judicial officer may be biased to the extent that he may not bring an opened mind to the proceedings;

“THEREFORE, in all the circumstances of the case, and in the interest of the due administration of justice, the court, as presently constituted, has formed the considered view that it ought to recuse itself from the present proceedings. IT IS ORDERED THAT: 1. The court as presently constituted hereby recuses itself from hearing the present matter. 2. The matter shall be relisted for hearing before another judicial officer appointed by the appropriate officer of the Court. 3. The Registrar of the High Court shall cause the full text of the memorandum dated 15th May 2023.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend