Third hearing on Douglas’ disqualification from National Assembly set for Wednesday
From the Office of the Prime Minister
This Wednesday the third hearing will take place in the constitutional motion brought by the attorney general to determine whether Dr. Denzil Douglas, the leader of the Opposition, is disqualified from membership in the National Assembly.
The case is based on the fact that in July 2015 Douglas applied for and obtained a diplomatic passport from the Commonwealth of Dominica, which describes Douglas as a citizen of Dominica. Douglas admitted to using the Dominican passport for travel.
Section 28(1) of the Constitution provides that a person shall not be qualified to be elected if he is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state. Further, it is stipulated in section 31(3) of the Constitution that an elected member shall vacate his seat if any of the circumstances arise, which would have disqualified him from being elected.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the defendant, Douglas, is expected to fulfill his undertaking to present his Dominican diplomatic passport to the judge for inspection. Within seven days of the last hearing April 20, Douglas had complied with his undertaking to provide the attorney general with information on the number of countries he visited and the number of occasions he did so using his Dominican passport.
Oral submissions are scheduled to take place Wednesday by Douglas Mendes SC and Anthony Astaphan SC, lead counsel for the attorney general and Dr. Douglas, respectively, on the admissibility of expert witness evidence in the matter.
A date for trial is also expected to be fixed by Judge the Hon. Justice Trevor Ward QC.