“We have been vindicated!” are the words coming from Member for the La Plaine constituency and Minister for Education Petter Saint Jean after hearing that a high court had ruled that he and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had legally contested the December 2009 general elections.
Skerrit and Saint Jean were taken to court by Ron Green of La Plaine and Maynard Joseph of Vielle Case on the basis that they were dual citizens at the time they contested the 2009 general elections.
The court presented its judgment in a 49 page document this afternoon. Scores of supporters gathered outside the High Court Civil Division building on the Bay Front to celebrate.
Saint Jean and other members of cabinet were welcomed by these screaming supporters outside the court following the hearing.
Saint Jean told reporters, “We have said consistently from day one that the opposition has failed to prove their case and today the courts have spoken the constitution of Dominica has spoken out loud, even in accordance with the people of Dominica as according to the 18th of December, 2009 and we are indeed thankful.”
“Of course, it took tremendous toll, not only on us, as individuals but on the entire country and once for all we can set these matters behind us and move with the path of development that has been tracked for us by the Dominica Labour Party under the sterling leadership of Roosevelt Skerrit who is and will continue to be the prime minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica until the people so desire that that should change,” he told the media.
Meanwhile, Minister of tourism Ian Douglas said that while the UWP intends to file an appeal, DLP celebrations are not premature.
“We have always felt confident that we would come out victorious and that is what is the case today we are very happy, very confident. We believe in the judgment of the court. Although the judge didn’t go through the reasoning…it’s a very sound judgment and we’re very happy for this victory today,” Douglas said.
“We respect the judgment of the court, we believe that the judge was very sound in arguments. We are aware of the reasoning… we have always said that we would have abided one way or another at the judgment of the court,” he stated.
Lawyer for the Skerrit and Saint Jean team, Lennox Lawrence says he is confident that the appeal will to be similarly thrown out.
“We were very clear that the petitions were very frivolous from the beginning and they were not able to be sustained.
So we are of the view that any appeal will meet the same fate. It will be thrown out anytime it reaches the court,” he said.
Lawrence said that the lesson to be learnt from the ruling is that, “you never go to court on sensational allegations. And whenever you are to go to court you must have evidence and you must have facts to prove the allegations.
“Someone asked me earlier what about the court of public opinion, well the court of public opinion never goes to the court of law.
And we are ruled not by public opinion but we are ruled by the court of law…so unless someone has the facts and the evidence to prove one should not go to the court at all. And one should keep sensational allegations outside of the court. And one has to rise at the level of proper litigation and these petitions were not of such a nature,” Lawrence said