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Marshall: Decision paves way for Senate to work


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Marshall: Decision paves way for Senate to work
Attorney General Dale Marshall (FILE)

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The decision by Justice Cicely Chase paves the way for the Senate to begin its work, says Attorney General Dale Marshall.

He was responding to the decision handed down in the courts on Monday which threw out the preliminary arguments in the constitutional motion brought by former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.

It challenged the makeup of the Senate, arguing it was not properly constituted with 18 instead of 21 members.

“There are several new Senators who are chomping at the bit to participate in national debate through the work of the Senate, and are now free to do so without pending court proceedings clouding the integrity of the sittings of that Upper House,” Marshall said in a media release.

READ: Judge throws out preliminary argument challenging make-up of the Senate

The full statement follows:

I am delighted, not only at the outcome of the case, which saw Justice Chase ruling in favour of the Government on every issue, but also at the fact that a mere five (5) weeks after this case was brought against the Government by Adriel Brathwaite, the Court has been able to bring resolution to its most critical elements.

We had contended from the very outset that the Senate was properly constituted, but a pillar of our democracy is the right of every citizen to test the decisions of Government in the High Court. We have more than ably met that challenge brought by Mr Brathwaite, a former Attorney General, and this decision clears the way for the work of the Senate to begin in this Parliamentary term.

There are several new Senators who are chomping at the bit to participate in national debate through the work of the Senate, and are now free to do so without pending court proceedings clouding the integrity of the sittings of that Upper House.

While there was never any impediment to the Senate doing its work, understandably there are some who felt discomfort at the prospect of the Senate meeting at a time when its’ very ability to meet and its legitimacy was being challenged in our High Court.  This is now behind us and the business of government must continue.

Let me thank the Government’s legal team, which came together in a very short space of time and which grappled with the many complex legal issues raised by the case, including thousands of pages of legal materials, and dealt with them comprehensively. (PR/SAT)

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