Douglas wants High Court to dismiss government application to oust him from Parliament
BASSETERRE – Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas, will on Monday ask a High Court judge to dismiss the application brought by the government seeking to oust him from the Parliament on the grounds that he is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
“In the affidavit that I have sworn, I have asked the court not only to dismiss the charges that have been brought by the Attorney General, but also with costs because they must pay for wasting the court’s time. They must pay my lawyers, who have been assembled in order to defend me in this matter,” Douglas said.
The St Kitts-Nevis government, through the Attorney General, Vincent Byron, is seeking a declaration from the High Court that, since the election to the National Assembly on February 16, 2015, Douglas became disqualified from being elected as a member of the National Assembly and was accordingly required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly by reason of his becoming a person who, by virtue of his own act, is in accordance with the law of Dominica, under an acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, namely, Dominica.
Additionally, the government is also seeking a declaration that Douglas has vacated his seat in the National Assembly; an injunction restraining him from taking his seat in the National Assembly and from performing his functions as a member as well as costs, and other relief as the court may deem just and expedient.
Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has described the matter of one of grave constitutional, political and parliamentary significance to the Commonwealth.
But Douglas told reporters that the outcome of the court matter will enable the main opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) “to settle down and pursue a spirited election campaign to remove the dictatorship from this land led by Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris”.
Douglas said that the actions of the government “is a concerted political plan and strategy to tarnish the image of his name put the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in a bad light in order to present themselves in a better light.
“They have pursued this vendetta, which is a political red-herring by the Attorney General Vincent Byron and Prime Minister Timothy Harris. With all that is happening in St. Kitts and Nevis – the numerous murders in 2017 and continuing in 2018, the unsolved criminal cases, rapes – the large number of our women folk that are being raped almost nightly, yet, the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security . . . can find time to pursue what has been described as a political red-herring, wasting not only taxpayers’ money, but wasting as well the time of the court,” said Dr Douglas.
“I do not hold dual citizenship, has never held dual citizenship, does not hold and never held citizenship of Dominica or any other country, except that of St Kitts and Nevis,” said Douglas, who has been a legislator since 1989 and served as prime minister for nearly 20 years.
Meanwhile, Douglas has told supporters to converge on the High Court on Monday, as he challenges the move by the government to remove him from Parliament.
“There is a concerted plan on the part of the Team Unity Government, assisted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Michael Perkins, urged on by the Prime Minster Timothy Harris and supported by the Attorney General Vincent Byron to have me removed from our Parliament, so that I will not be able to represent you anymore,” Douglas told a meeting in St Paul’s constituency on Sunday night.
Douglas, who has been representing that constituency from 1989, said: “I have been a faithful servant of you the people.
“You have produced a prime minister who has been in office for 20 years. You know what I have achieved for this constituency. You know how you have been empowered. You know where we came from,” he said, accusing the government of implementing a strategy aimed at weakening his influence in the constituency by providing jobs and short-term favours.
“They are going to provide work for you. Take the work, but do not let them rob you, let them give you every red cent that you work for,” he advised.
He said the application to the court seeks a declaration that he is unfit to serve.
“The prime minister of Dominica has issued me with a Dominica diplomatic passport. Having a diplomatic passport does not deprive me of my right to sit in our parliament. I am not a citizen of Dominica, I never was and never applied to be and was never granted. I have never taken an oath of allegiance to a country other than this one here St Kitts and Nevis,” said Douglas. (CMC)