BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — St. Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Six, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, heads back to court to face trial before Resident High Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Trevor Ward QC on Jan. 10.
Douglas will face questions about where his allegiance lies as it relates to holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution prohibits Members of Parliament from holding dual-citizenship.
In an affidavit filed in the High Court Registry on February 21, 2018, Dr. Douglas admitted to holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica (DP 0000462), which he used to travel on April 23, 2016. Dr. Douglas also admitted to filling out and signing an application form for the diplomatic passport he holds, which is valid until July 29, 2020.
The parliamentary disqualification case had its first hearing in the High Court on February 26, 2018, before Justice Ward. It is now at the trial stage with the summoning and presentation of experts on Dominican Law related to questions of allegiance—the Claimants have two experts and the Defendant has one.
The Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis acting on the advice of learned Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes of Trinidad and Tobago is asking the High Court to declare that Dr. Douglas has vacated his seat in the National Assembly by holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Constitutional Motion also seeks an injunction to restrain Dr. Douglas from taking part in the proceedings of the National Assembly.
Lawyers for the Government are arguing that by filling out an application form for a passport of another country, being issued with said passport and using that passport to travel are positive acts that constitute acts of adherence, allegiance and obedience to a foreign power.
Section 28 (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section Six of the National Assemblies Act both provide that “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he is by virtue of his own act under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
Dr. Douglas’s lawyers are Sylvester Anthony, Ms. Angelina Sookoo and Delano Bart QC, led by Anthony Astaphan SC.
The Government’s lawyers include Ms. Talibah Byron, Michael Quamina and MacClure Taylor led by Douglas Mendes SC.