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On the Way Out? Douglas’ Parliamentary Validity Tested in Court… Former PM Slams Move

Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has announced that it has filed an injunction against Leader of the Opposition and Former Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas seeking to get him barred from serving in the Parliament due to his alleged dual citizenship claims. This comes after he was suspended and forced out of the year’s first sitting of the Federation’s ruling body over a heated argument with the Speaker Michael Perkins..

Attorney General the Hon. Vincent Byron in making a presentation in Parliament Tuesday, announced that the Office of the Attorney General gave instructions to institute legal proceedings in this matter and on Monday filed a fixed date claim form in the High Court registry to get everything court to make certain declarations and findings.

Byron stated that they have asked the court to determine if Dr. Douglas has vacated his seat based on the allegations of him holding a passport of another state. He said,“1) A declaration that since the election on February 16, 2015 Dr. Denzil Douglas became disqualified from being elected as a member of the National Assembly and was accordingly required to vacate his seat by reason of his becoming a person who by virtue of his own act with accordance with the law of the Commonwealth of Dominica under acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to a foreign power or state namely the said Commonwealth of Dominica.”

“A declaration that Dr. Denzil Douglas has vacated his seat in the national assembly of St Kitts and Nevis. An injunction restraining Dr. Denzil Douglas from taking his seat in the National Assembly and from performing his functions as a member thereof 4) Costs 5) such further and or other relief as this honourable court may deem just or expedient,” Byron stated.

He further indicated there are number of grounds on which the relief is claimed. “The defendant is an elected member of the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis having been elected to represent the constituency of St. Christopher Six in the general election held in 2015. The defendant is a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“2) On July 30, 2015, the defendant was issued a diplomatic passport number DP0000462 by the Commonwealth of Dominica which recorded him as being a citizen of Dominica. This is borne out of a certificate of exhibits that was filed among the papers at the court 3) the said passport is stated to be valid until July 29, 2020. On April 23, 2016 the defendant left the jurisdiction of St. Kitts and Nevis by air utilizing the said Dominican passport.”

The Attorney General noted that the law of Dominica requires all citizens to swear an oath of allegiance upon being registered as a citizen. He added, “The common law of Dominica a person who possess and or travels on a Dominican passport is under acknowledgement of allegiance to Dominica.”

Byron further quoted the Constitution to further validate his arguments against the Leader of the Opposition. “Section 28, subsection (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section 6 of the National Assembly Act both provide that, “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he (a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”

“ Section 31, subsection (3) c) of the Constitution provides that, “An elected or appointed member shall also vacate his seat in the Assembly subject to subsection (4), if any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member, would cause him to be disqualified to be elected or appointed as such by virtue of subsection (1) of section 28 or of any law enacted in pursuance of subsection (2), (3) or (5) of that section.””

He added that Douglas, became disqualified from being elected as a member of the National Assembly and was 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 the Commonwealth of Dominica, under an acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, namely the said Commonwealth of Dominica.”

Byron added, “It is important that we understand that this is a very serious matter which we have attended the High Court for the court to determine the eligibility of the member of Constituency Six to continue to sit as a member of this honourable house.”

Dr. Douglas in response stated that he was being asked if he had resigned from the Parliament and made clear that is not to be the case and he has no plans to step down. He said “I emphasize that I have not resigned and shall not resign, because the country is undergoing tremendous difficulties.”

He then accused the government of abuse of the privilege of this Parliament, to paint him in a bad light. “As I have said there is only one government, one country that I have pledged allegiance to and that is the government and country of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“I do not hold citizenship for any other country. I have declared that on several occasions,” Douglas declared passionately.

The Former Prime Minister further charged that the Attorney General was placing the Parliament into disrepute questioning his eligibility. “It is really an abuse of the privileges of this parliament to try to come here in the very first sitting of this parliament for 2018 and he is trying to bring this Parliament into a state of disrepute by saying to the world that I have no right to be here! The Attorney General has no more right to be here than Denzil Douglas,” he loudly proclaimed.

Dr. Douglas was then involved in a heated spat with the Speaker of the National Assembly Michael Perkins and was eventually named and suspended from the sitting.

Loshaun Dixon :