The government has assumed the responsibility of paying the court set legal costs for former Elections Supervisor Leroy Benjamin and former Registration Officer Bernadette Lawrence. This is according to Nevis Deputy Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, whom the court ordered Lawrence and Benjamin to pay costs to when he won the landmark election petition case in Nevis. “The federal government has taken on the responsibility and wants to use tax payers’ money to pay costs for disgraced electoral officials Bernadette Lawrence and Pastor Benjamin,”he said In October 2013, the electoral officials told the court they would shoulder the burden of Brantley’s legal cost, which Brantley put at over EC$2 million. This was after former NIA Minister Hensley Daniel and former Premier successfully appealed being jointly and severally responsible for the costs along with Benjamin and Lawrence. Brantley said he didn’t see why the federal government paying as the responsibility lies with Lawrence and Benjamin since they were the ones the court found guilty of misfeasance. “Now you understand the plan. When they stood up in court and said they take responsibility for Parry and Hensley it’s because they already had this plan that the federal government was going to take it up,”he charged. Brantley told The Observer the judge recommended that Benjamin’s and Lawrence’s lawyers settle. He said negotiations for payment began initially with the Attorney General’s office and after an agreement could not be reached, the AG’s office turned negotiations over to Sylvester Anthony. An amount of US$100,000 was offered by the government lawyers, Brantley says, an offer that was promptly rejected. He said for the election petition case the NIA paid Dr. Henry Browne QC $750,000 to represent Hensley Daniel and Oral Martin $200,000 to represent Joseph Parry. The federal government’s legal fees included payments to lawyers including Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, John Tyne, Sylvester Anthony, Angela Sookoo and Dennis Merchant. There was also the matter of expenses, including accommodation for much of the respondents’ legal team at the Four Seasons. “They are going to look at us and say our team, we had too many lawyers. They had more than us, but we had too many. They said the case was easy so we didn’t need all this work that was done and all manner of other things,”he said. “Their whole thing is they want to string it out as long as possible; they don’t want to pay me any money.”Brantley said the court would have to get involved further to resolve the matter.