St. Kitts-Nevis’ opposition leader agrees to have foreign passport inspected
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Parliamentary Disqualification Case brought by the Attorney General of St. Christopher and Nevis (claimant) against Leader of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas (defendant) continued today, April 20, in the High Court at the Sir Lee L. Moore Legal and Judicial Complex in Basseterre before His Lordship the Honourable Justice Trevor M. Ward, QC.
Douglas’s lawyers – Sylvester Anthony, Angelina Sookoo and Delano Bart QC, led by Anthony Astaphan SC – filed a consent order whereby Douglas has given an undertaking to confirm in writing within seven days from today’s date the number of countries he used his Dominican Diplomatic Passport No. DP0000462 to gain entry and the number of occasions he did so during the period July 2015 to January 2018.
Additionally, the defendant has undertaken thereafter to present his said passport to the presiding judge of the court for inspection in order to confirm the contents of the undertaking.
Speaking after the court proceeding, Attorney General the Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. said that his legal team is “quite happy with the outcome…because now we all get to know where Dr. Douglas has travelled to and when he travelled using a Dominican diplomatic passport. This morning, the hearing that was set some time ago allowed for the parties to present to His Lordship Justice Ward QC a consent order. Our chambers had made an application for disclosure to the court for Dr. Douglas to present his Dominican diplomatic passport for inspection and we have had difficulty in obtaining that.
“His lawyers initially filed submissions to contest our requests. This, of course, was following our own agreement to present for their inspection disclosure of the immigration forms that Dr. Douglas had been using over the last couple of years, and so we consented to that without them having to make a formal application to the court, but we, in turn, had requested for Dr. Douglas to show us his Dominican diplomatic passport that he had indicated that he had obtained.
“Earlier this week, the lawyers agreed to certain terms of him being able to present that and today what the judge is a consent order to concretize that agreement,” said Byron.
Additionally, the government’s lawyers – Talibah Byron, Michael Quamina and MacClure Taylor, led by Douglas Mendes SC – along with the defendants, mutually consented that the claimant’s Notice of Application, dated and filed April 6, is withdrawn with no orders as to costs. It was also ordered by consent of the parties that on or before May 11, the parties will file written submissions on the question whether expert evidence on the relevant law of Dominica, including the common law, is admissible in evidence in these proceedings and whether the court is competent to pronounce upon the relevant law of Dominica.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ leader of the Opposition and parliamentary representative for St. Christopher No. 6, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, in an affidavit filed in the High Court Registry on Feb. 21 in opposing court papers served on him on Jan. 24 by the government in the Parliamentary Disqualification Case admitted to holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
The attorney general of St. Kitts and Nevis, acting on advice of Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes of Trinidad and Tobago, is asking the High Court to declare that 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 Douglas from taking part in the proceedings of the National Assembly.
Section 28 (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section Six (6) 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 acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
The Parliamentary Disqualification Case had its first hearing in the High Court Feb. 26 before Resident High Court Judge His Lordship Justice Trevor Ward Q.C.
A further hearing on the matter is set for May 30.