Fed up with delays
Lawyers in Dominica who are involved in the dual citizenship cases of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his Education Minister Peter Saint Jean today said their clients have become frustrated at the continuing adjournment of the matter.
“We are very frustrated indeed. We have been ready for this for a very long time…we have filed the necessary papers, we are very sorry that the matter is being delayed,” Queen’s Counsel Athony Astaphan, who is heading the defence team told reporters.
In August, High Court judge Errol Thomas ruled that Prime Minister Skerrit and Saint Jean would have to face trial over charges that their elections last December were null and void.
“In all the circumstances, the Court agrees that the elements of disqualification have been pleaded. And it is the further conclusion of the Court that the First Respondents have been made aware of the case they have to face, namely disqualification; and further still a cause of action has been made out,” Justice Thomas said.
Last month, the High court said it would meet on January 21 to decide on the procedure to be followed in the cases.
But Astaphan told reporters that the lawyers for the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP), had sought and obtained an adjournment to March in order to respond to the documents filed by the lawyers for the government ministers.
“I want the record to be very very clear that the lawyers representing Mr. Ron Green and Maynard Joseph (of the UWP) requested an adjournment because they needed additional time to to review the authorities and the submissions which we had filed on behalf of the Prime Minister and Mr. Peter Saint Jean.”
Astaphan admitted that there had been “some late filings in relation to the authorities but they were the ones who requested the adjournment.
“For the record it is not the lawyers representing the Prime Minister and Mr. Saint Jean who requested or are responsible for this adjournment,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister Skerrit has also expressed a level of frustration at the delay in having the matter heard before the courts.
“The Prime Minister expressed to me via a telephone call extreme frustration that this matter has been once again adjourned, but that he was very happy he did not consent to this application) for adjournment).
The lawyers for the UWP have so far made no comments on today’s court development. (CMC)