Application for injunction to stop elections goes to Court of Appeal

Legal team for applicants: (l-r) Elu Charles, Cara Shillingford, Julien Prevost

Amidst protest action and clashes with security forces over demands for electoral reform to ensure free and fair elections, High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson has ruled that the court “does not have the jurisdiction to grant an injunction to stop the December 6th, 2019 general elections to be held in Dominica.”

Pressure group, Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), headed by its president Loftus Durand and six other Dominican citizens, went to court to challenge the December 6th, 2019 elections and asked the court to “halt the process and place an injunction.”

Cara Shillingford, who led the case for the applicants, told the court that “it does have jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought.”

“We have a constitutional right to approach the court, the constitution provides that right and we are submitting that they have a right to be heard,” she told the court.

However, Lennox Lawrence, attorney for President Charles Savarin, who is a party to the matter,  said “this is not a fundamental rights issue and once the election writ was issued by the President, the court has no jurisdiction on the matter.” His views were supported by the attorney for the Electoral Commission and Ian Michael Anthony, the Chief Elections Officer, Health Felix-Evans.

“The law is clear and well settled on the issue on election law and jurisdiction. This challenge must be done after the election via an election petition. This court has no jurisdiction to grant an injunction,” the lawyers for the respondents told the court.

In her ruling, Justice Stephenson dismissed the applicant to grant an injunction and to grant judicial review.

“This court cannot intrude on the elections once the writ has been issued by the President. I understand that the applicants may have legitimate concerns but that can be done otherwise and that is after the election, via elections petition and so, declare that this court has no jurisdiction to grant the reliefs sought,” the Judge stated.

Heather Felix-Evans said she was not surprised at the court’s ruling.

“The law is settled. It was on our side and there is also a plethora of cases saying that anything challenging the legitimacy of the elections have to be brought to an elections court which is a special court and has special jurisdiction established under Section 40 of the constitution,” she said.

“They are asking the court to assume or speculate that the results will not be fair and the fact that they have come before the elections, will not help them because what they are challenging is the legitimacy of the elections. Therefore, they have to wait and the alternative remedy is election petition and they have 21 days after the election to so do…once the President issues the writ the elections must be held,” Felix-Evans stated.

Attorney for the applicants, Cara Shillingford, has put the court on notice that they will appeal.

“We are not surprised at the decision and will appeal. We remain firm in our conviction that the elections should be stopped and there are too many irregularities for the December 6th, 2019 election to go ahead. We have also indicated to the Judge that we will appeal,” Shillingford stated.

“We are so concerned about the irregularities in the register of electors and we will not at this time, this is not an application that is common, There are authorities (Canadian) granting injunctions. The fact that it has never been made in Dominica or this jurisdiction, does not say it can’t be granted. There is a first time for everything and if the law and the constitution support us, the court should interpret and apply the law it a way that requires justice,” Shillingford stated.

The appeal will be lodged within the next few hours with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) based in St. Lucia.

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  1. Fouchette
    December 4, 2019

    You are talking pure fouchette. This nonsense has been going on for too long. It is sad when a dictator loves power so much that he/she is prepared to have it by any possible means and there is no where that one can turn to for assistance because even the judiciary is in the pockets of this dictator. I will give Skerrit this….he is cunning if nothing else. He calculated the time that would be necessary for judicial reform and called a snap election to ensure that it does not take place, because if it happens he knows that he is likely to loose the election.

  2. Tobby
    December 4, 2019

    Every country is the OECS have voters ID except one Dominica. Appeal court hearing is when, tonight or tmrw. It can be open in the night you know.

  3. Angry
    December 4, 2019

    Dominica Court is pure non-sense.
    Dominica Labor Party NEEEEEDS to go!!!

  4. Madflyer
    December 4, 2019

    Cara eating their money

  5. Braindamage
    December 3, 2019

    Fellow Dominicans, make sure you not not vote that monster Monster Skerrit and his Labour Party again to take 90% of the State Finance and leaving 10% for us citizen. [ check Al Jazeera reports]

  6. impartial maters
    December 3, 2019

    Judge is bought an paid.. tough enough to have a fair election let alone a highest bidder judicial system. shame.

  7. Garvey
    December 3, 2019

    The prime minster and all his shannanegans does not make you all stop and ponder on the extreme lawlessness. he has a long list of transgression against the country but you worry about a lawyer in the defence of justice and your dislike of Mr Linton.Well I am not a DLP nor am I a UWP but I am Dominica and I wold like to see Dominica in a better position than it is right now and I hope we all put country first.

  8. Jack Sparrow
    December 3, 2019

    OK, thanks Bernie we expected that. We just followed protocol to get you out of the way.
    Let’s plead our case to more legal luminaries.
    In any case your time here is short.

  9. Ibo France
    December 3, 2019

    Mr. Skerrit should be legally proscribed from participating in any local political elections in Dominica. If we had a real functioning government instead of a voting booth, Mr. Skerrit would be taking up residence in jail cell awaiting trial. The man has badly tarnished the country’s once pristine name. The whole of the Caribbean region and the wider world to a great extent have been asking if Dominica can still be considered as a functioning democracy. In my opinion no, not with Skerrit free to contest another national election. Lock him up for he is guilty as charged.

  10. Righteous
    December 3, 2019

    “We remain firm in our conviction that the elections should be stopped and there are too many irregularities for the December 6th, 2019 election to go ahead.” What irregularities is she specifically referring to in the election?

    “We are so concerned about the irregularities in the register of electors and we will not at this time, this is not an application that is common,” Very vague statement.

  11. Shaka zulu
    December 3, 2019

    I think that judge mind was already made up and i dont think she was listening nor hearing the merits of the case. Our Caribbean judicial system are weak, subjects to politics lack any independence and dont see themselves as important in shaping or maintaining the Democratic path and development. The role and responsibility of our courts need an overhaul. Apparently it is not in the best interest of peace and stability in the region. That is why the caribbean will continue to be a safe haven for criminals.

  12. Heddy
    December 3, 2019

    No surprise I fully agree. In my opinion Ms shillingford do not gain popularity on the Workers party plz. Do the right thing

  13. Omg
    December 3, 2019

    Why the Labour party is afriad of picture voter ID cards? I smell a rat.

  14. Lloyd Larond
    December 3, 2019

    We are reading and don’t pay much attention to the photo. Look at the road condition right outside the court house in the middle of the city. Millions spent on intentional artist and millions spent on candidates stepping down and those replacing them and also on bribes. God Deliver us.

  15. Ibo France
    December 3, 2019

    I’m not a lawyer and I would not presume to know constitutional law. This case though should be pushed to its limits. Too many irregularities surround this upcoming elections. The region and the international community have been ignored as Skerrit appears to want to cheat his way to another tainted victory at the polls. The fiercest resistance must be galvanized against this overly corrupt regime without one drop of blood or any damage to public or private properties. Fight on brave soldiers, fight the good fight against corruption and evil. Dominica is now considered a pariah nation in the eyes of millions of people round the globe. What serious foreign investor would dare to do business with such an unsavory character (Skerrit) and a politically unstable country with the present ,corrupt, cartoonish character in charge?

  16. Dominica
    December 3, 2019

    How is Lennox Lawrence the lawyer representing the president. Wasn’t Lennox Lawrence on the labour party platform on Sunday. What is wrong with Dominicans? History will not be kind to you.

  17. Diafish jab
    December 3, 2019

    You Lost this round. Get over it!

  18. Channel 1
    December 3, 2019

    Oh yeah sure, file election petitions after the deed is done. Then somehow, that petitions case will be spun and spun around for years using all sort of legal technicalities and loopholes in the court system while the country is further plundered by ‘hungry hyenas’.

    Humour me – Haven’t election petitions been filed before to deal with these very same issues which are now ONCE AGAIN rearing their heads as they have not been resolved by petitions?

    We all know something is wrong so instead of trying to correct that which is wrong before it is done, you are saying to go ahead with the wrong thing and after it is done, then try to correct it.

    I can only hope that persons of your ilk and reasoning are kept away from advising children about doing wrong and right things. You people are absolutely sick in y’all heads. Phew!!!!

  19. Insomnia
    December 3, 2019

    Appeal court, all of them are part and parcel of the free masonry, the courts system left us with no choice but to take matters into our own hands.

  20. Eagle-Eyed
    December 3, 2019

    These lawyers seem to be having a right laugh while attempting to help Lennox and UWP to use the courts to subvert our democracy. I hope it is not tax payers money going into their pockets. Who ever bankrolling UWP to pay these laywers to bring such bogus cases to court might one day be asking Lennox for their money back. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

  21. Lin clown
    December 3, 2019

    This Cara Shillingford is losing more cases than she is wining.BAD RATIO.She is acting on the stupidness her UNTIDY father is always talking.

    • RandyX
      December 4, 2019

      Why do you concern yourself about Cara? If you only had a tenth of her intelligence and her patriotic integrity you would have never started visiting your masters Red clinic. Your conscience would be clear now and you would be able to look in the mirror again instead of coming on here day in day and desperately trying to defend the indefensible!

  22. DC
    December 3, 2019

    Come on Prevost! You should know better, stop wasting the Court time. Clowns! We shall defeat the UWP on Friday. Enough already with the madness! Victory! Victory! Victory for the DLP!

    • Chris
      December 3, 2019

      DC means Dam Cult

  23. NO Surprise
    December 3, 2019

    Miss Shillingford, as a young person like yourself, I would advise you to stop using the judicial system to push yourself and gain popularity. That’s exactly what you’re doing. You know the court has no jurisdiction once the President issue’s the writ for elections. You should take the Judge’s advice and wait after the elections to file your petitions. It’s good to hear “cara shillingford’s” name all over the media representing the opposition leader and the UWP but remember you have a reputation to develop since you are very young in the legal business and as such I would advise you to think realistically before jumping to represent Lennox and the UWP on every legal matter.

    • Me
      December 3, 2019

      This case was- and is being brought by the CCM (concerned citizens movement) and not the UWP.

    • Amarossa
      December 3, 2019

      If Democracy is alive and well as you DLP supporters claim, then Ms. Cara Shillingford is within her right to accept any case she wants, for whatever the reason.
      Let Democracy reign! Dominica is not Skerritt own.

    • Galileo
      December 4, 2019

      I support your comments in its totality. Cara, I believe, has the potential to become one of Dominica’s best but is now being used by the UWP;a potential career destroying move. In your field young lady, you require clients and honestly you are begining to be hated as you are seen as wasting the court’s time and frankly making a fool of yourself. Hillary, your analysis on issues of national interest indicates that you are sensible and intelligent, please help your daughter and advise her against these moves. The popularity she is gaining now is not positive.

      • December 4, 2019

        Legal minds shouldn’t be biased as you want them to be !

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