INJUNCTION OR NOT, PM DOGULAS IS ADAMANT THAT, BOUNDARIES WILL CHANGE By Sheena Brooks The National Assembly has been submerged in controversy as court injunction and pending substantive hearing notwithstanding, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas has gone ahead and effectively changed the constituency boundaries. Earlier this week the High Court upheld the injunction filed By Hon. Shawn Richards of the opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) against the government making changes to constituency boundaries. Subsequently an emergency sitting of Parliament was convened on Wednesday afternoon when Douglas tabled the draft proclamation for said proposed changes. According to a statement read by the Prime Minister, the proposed changes are: Constituency #1would see Half Moon Bay added to its district; Constituency #2 would lose the areas of Greenlands and Pine Gardens; Constituency #3 would have these areas added to that district and have Trinity, West Farm and Boyds removed; Constituency #4 would see these three villages added; Constituency #5 would have Halfway Tree added; Constituency #7 would gain parts of Upper Cayon, several subsections of Upper Cayon and Ottleys Village and its extensions; Constituency #8 would lose Half Moon Bay from its voting district. No changes were proposed for Constituency #6, Douglas” voting district. Douglas also said no changes to the three electoral districts in Nevis were recommended by the Boundaries Commission. Douglas told Parliament that according to legal advice sought, he was not in violation of the standing injunction as it applied to the Boundaries Technical Commission and not to himself or Parliamentary proceedings. “If I were so advised that this action today was an infringement of any order, any injunction that had been issued against the Attorney General and members of the Commission, I as the Prime Minister would not stand here doing this because I would be the last to want to violate anything that comes from the sanctity of the court. But I have been advised that the injunction did not in any way injunct me the Prime Minister and so I have proceeded to do my work in Parliament and that is to get on with the business of the people.”He asked the House to approve the draft proclamation by its resolution so that it gives effect for the draft proclamation to be accepted and submitted to the Governor general to become a final proclamation and then effect the boundary changes. The draft proclamation was unanimously approved in the absence of Opposition leader Hon. Mark Brantley, Hon. Vance Amory and Senator Michael Perkins who had all abruptly walked out of the house earlier that morning after Brantley delivered his position on the matter. Hon. Shawn Richards and Constituency #2 representative Hon. Dwyer Astaphan were notably absent from this morning’s sitting of Parliament. Once institutionalized by the Governor General, the resolution will have effectively changed the constituency boundaries for the next general elections as laid out by the Prime Minister. It remains to be seen what action will be taken by the Nevis parliamentarians and opposition party PAM, as the court proceedings set for next Monday appears to have been negated by yesterday’s resolution passing.
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