Journalist and political activist Lennox Linton has raised concerns about the involvement of member of the Electoral Commission Alick Lawrence in the election petition matter involving Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt and Education Minister Petter St Jean.
Linton was speaking at a special meeting of the Citizen’s Forum for Good Governance Thursday evening to mark International Day of Democracy when he raised the question of Lawrence’s involvement in the matter.
“The [General] Elections were conducted y the Electoral Commission. Alick Lawrence is a member of the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission is asked by the constitution to be independent in the exercise of its functions. And yet, when Skerritt comes before the court, Alick Lawrence finds no better place to be than to be sitting at the bar table behind Tony Astaphan, helping him, passing notes, holding his hand, holding his papers, supporting Skerritt in a situation where the court wants to decide, objectively, whether Mr. Skerritt was validly elected to the parliament,” Linton said.
He continued, “You know Alick Lawrence knows he is wrong? You know Tony Astaphan knows that Alick is wrong to do what he is doing? Why do I know he is wrong? When the court opens, the lawyers representing the petitioners are required to say who they are, the lawyers representing the respondents are required to say who they are [and] at no point has Tony Astaphan’s side ever acknowledged to the court that Alick Lawrence is part of their team. But every time he turns around in the court and every time he tells the judge he wants to confer with his legal team, the first man he goes to is Alick Lawrence.”
According to Linton, Astaphan said that he is pleased to have the advice of one of the best lawyers in Dominica and that Lawrence is free to give him advice at anytime.
“I’m saying, Alick can give you advice, but Alick cannot be giving you advice in this case when he is a member of the Electoral Commission responsible for the election in which Mr. Skerritt was challenged,” Linton concluded.
Lawrence has not spoken to the press during the hearing of the trial over the past two weeks. Linton also said that a letter has been sent from an attorney requesting that the President remove Lawrence from the Electoral Commission.
The matter has been adjourned until September 29 when Felix Prosper, one of the witnesses for the petitioners in the St Jean matter, is expected to give testimony.
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