Political leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) Edison James has described the election petition ruling by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court as a “Pyrrhic victory” (a victory which will ultimately lead to defeat) for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Education Minister Petter Saint Jean.
On Monday the court dismissed an appeal initiated by the UWP against the two citing lack of evidence as the main reason.
According to the UWP both Skerrit and Saint Jean had violated an electoral code by pledging allegiance to a foreign power before the 2009 general election.
According to the Constitution of Dominica, no one who pledges allegiance to a foreign state, except Commonwealth countries, is eligible to run for public office.
James told DNO that the evidence shows that both Skerrit and Saint Jean had in fact pledged allegiance to a foreign power before and leading up to the election.
“We are convinced by the information available to us and by the action of the other party that both Mr. Skerrit and Mr. Saint Jean were under acknowledgement of allegiance and adherrence to a foriegn power which disqaulify them from the electoral process in 2009,” he said.
He said the fact that the court had issued subpoenas, through the registry, for the two men to give information with respect to their holding of passports and to present their passports, is very important. “The trial judge set those subpoenas aside,” he said.
James pointed out that of further importance is the fact that the other side had approached the UWP, while the judge was deliberating whether the subpoenas would be admitted in court or not, to say that if the judge were to rule that the two men should disclose their passports or make themselves available to be cross examined, that they would resign. “What does that tell us?” he queried.
James noted that when all these things have been put together, the UWP is satisfied that Skerrit and Saint Jean were not eligible, under the Constitution, to participate in the 2009 general elections.
He said the party is satisfied that as a matter of great public interest, it was right to deal with the matter the way it was dealt with. “It is now for us to move on and to do our work as a party, as a genuine opposition to bring the change in this country,” he said.
James also pointed out that the matter of dual citizenship should be examined on the the regional and subregional level.