By Loshaun Dixon
The High Court in Basseterre has ruled that civil servants can run for office, paving the way for Leon Natta-Nelson of the St. Kitts & Nevis Labour Party to seek public office while still in public employ, his lawyer told the Observer Natta-Nelson is a senior customs officer and accountant in the Customs and Excise Department. He is the Labour Party’s candidate for constituency seven to face the incumbent, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris.
In October, he was suspended from his job on the grounds of participating in party politics and having introduced himself as a candidate to residents in his constiuency.
Natta-Nelson then filed a constitutional motion in which he sought a declaration that rules 36 and 38 were unconstitutional.
Natta-Nelson’s lawyer, Sylvester Anthony, told the Observer that he also sought a declaration from the court that Natta was entitled to take an active part in a political organisation and more particularly to run for elected office.
“Those are the two declarations he got today. Not only Leon Natta-Nelson, but all public servants who wish to run for political office are entitled so to do. And all public servants who wish to become involved in active politics can do so.”
However, Anthony noted that the government can still restrict those individuals but it must be “in line with the Constitution”.