It’s a 49-page judgement from Justice Gertel Thom that had Dominica Labour Party supporters jumping for joy outside the courts in Roseau on Tuesday afternoon.
The ruling by Justice Thom, read out in court, said United Workers Party election candidates Ron Green and Maynard Joseph and their lawyers failed to prove the dual citizenship case they brought against Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Education Minister Peter St Jean.
The petitioners and their legal representatives had argued that PM Skerrit and St Jean were disqualified from being elected because they were in breach of the electoral code, having held French citizenship on nomination day ahead of the December 18 general election.
The judgement stated clearly that both petitions were dismissed because the petitioners had failed to establish their case, that as pertained to PM Skerrit, that they had failed to prove that he had become a French citizen of his own free will.
A relieved Skerrit, speaking from his office after the case (he was not in court for the judgement), insisted that he had not denied having French citizenship, but made it clear that it was something obtained for him as a child by his mother.
“We always maintained that we were properly qualified to contest the 2009 general elections … and it’s clear that there was no case against us,” the prime minister told Dominica News Online.
Skerrit called for the nation to move on following the announced decision, but said he was ready to face an appeal if the losing opposition United Workers Party petitioners decided to appeal the judgement.
UWP leader Ron Green said his party could not say at this time whether it would appeal the decision, but admitted that he was very disappointed with the judgement.
Green did not want to comment on the judge’s ruling that the two petitioners and their attorneys failed to prove their case, opting instead for a full study of the 49 page judgement before deciding on the way forward.
“Obviously it is not an encouraging result in the context of what we know,” he said while acknowledging that he was disappointed with the ruling.
Green dismissed criticism that he too had dual citizenship, telling DNO that he had tried to renounce his foreign citizenship before election day.
He however admitted that he had himself held a foreign passport on nomination day.
Green said the difference between himself and Skerrit/St Jean was that he had tried to give up his foreign passport before the election but the two had held on to theirs until an election petition had been brought against them.
DNO interviewed Prime Minister Skerrit on his court victory – a part of that interview with Ken Richards can be heard by clicking below: