By Caribbean News Global contributor
BASSETERRE, St Kitts – Former prime minister Denzil L Douglas said Thursday that he accepts the ruling of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal that he should vacate his St Christopher 6 seat in the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, called upon prime minister Dr Timothy Harris to dissolve the lawmaking body and set a date for the general election while confirming his candidacy for the St Christopher 6 seat.
“I wish to announce on behalf of myself and my colleagues that the matter of the diplomatic passport case, which has been before our courts for two years, has finally come to an end; that is the legal process for the case.
“We have been informed by our lawyers that earlier this morning, sitting at the Appeal Court in Saint Lucia, the appeal judges gave a ruling that they would have upheld the appeal on this matter from the judgment of Justice Trevor Ward QC, at the Lower Court several months ago,” opposition leader Douglas told reporters.
Although expressing surprise at the ruling, Dr Douglas said: “We accept the judgment and we move on definitely to the next level. We respect the judgment given by the appeal judges and so that ends the legal process. We are now in the political process of this matter,” he said.
Dr Douglas recalled that the refusal of his successor, Dr Timothy Harris to follow protocol and issue him a diplomatic passport in his new capacity as leader of the opposition following the 2015 general elections.
“The spitefulness and the vindictiveness of Dr Harris being pursued against me and a former colleague as head of government, (prime minister Dr Roosevelt Skerritt), in recognizing the service that I have provided to the Caribbean region and holding me in the highest regard, did offer me a (Dominica) diplomatic passport when my government refused to give me a (St Kitts and Nevis) diplomatic passport after serving for almost 20 years as the prime minister and a member of our parliament for nearly 30 years,” Dr Douglas said.
The judgment dated March 12, 2020, detailed that: “Dr Douglas, by reason of his becoming a person who, by virtue of his own act, is under an acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to the Commonwealth of Dominica in breach of section 28(1)(a) of the Constitution [of Saint Kitts Nevis], is required, pursuant to section 31(3)(c) of the Constitution, to vacate his seat in the National Assembly.”
“The cumulative effect of my conclusions is that Dr Douglas, by his application for, receipt and use of a Dominican diplomatic passport, placed him in clear breach of section 28(1)(a) of the Constitution. As a matter of law, the consequence in the terms of section 33(3)(c) follows. That consequence is that Dr Douglas is required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly in Saint Christopher and Nevis.”
Dr Douglas said there is no appeal to the Privy Council, “So I no longer will serve the people of Constituency #6 in the parliament during this term, which is almost ended.”
“In other words, although I will not sit in parliament for the next two, three days or weeks. The matter is, I, however, will contest the next elections for Constituency #6 whenever those elections are called. The judgment does not preclude me in any way from seeking re-election by the people of Constituency #6,” Dr Douglas said.
The judgement is available here.