Skerrit looking for a clean sweep at the polls
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has hinted at an early general election and has already told supporters that he intends to follow the record set by Grenada's ruling New National Party (NNP) of a clean sweep of the seats in the upcoming poll.
Speaking at a public meeting to thank supporters for the three years of legal battles to determine whether or not he and his Education Minister Petter Saint Jean were legally nominated to contest the last general election, Skerrit said that he wants the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) to remain in opposition for another five year term.
"I want my revenge for three years of strain and stress to be a thorough and comprehensive whipping of the United Workers Party whenever the next election is held," he said, adding "I am serving notice from tonight that we are working to get back our three wasted years.
"These three wasted years must cost them another five-year in opposition. So I urge you to return to your communities and begin your work, for I want you to tell all and sundry tonight Skerrit has hinted that it won't be long, so get yourself ready for another five years in government," he told supporters in Tuesday night.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Monday dismissed an election petition filed by two defeated UWP candidates who had challenged the nominations of Skerrit and Saint Jean to contest the 2009 general election.
Former UWP leader Ron Green and his colleague, Maynard Joseph, had appealed the January 2012 ruling by High Court judge Gertel Thom that they failed to establish a case against the two government ministers.
In a 27-page judgment, the three-member court headed by Chief Justice Janice Pereira, said the petitioners making specific allegations in their election petitions about the existence of a disqualification must bring the appropriate evidence to prove their allegations.
The Appeal Court ruled that the High Court judge having found that there was "no direct evidence of the allegations of disqualifications made in the petitions...was entitled to dismiss the petitions. "The burden was on the appellants to have brought the necessary evidence before the court to prove that under the law of France, the respondents being in possession of French passports was an act which amounted to an acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to the state of France. In their appeal, both Green and Joseph had also challenged the results of the Vielle Case and La Plaine constituencies that were won by Skerrit and Saint Jean respectively during the December 18, 2009 general elections that Skerrit's Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won by an 18-3 margin.
The UWP said it was disappointed at the Court of Appeal ruling with Green telling reporters "I want to complement Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on his ability and success in hiding the truth from the court. We go to the court for justice. Justice depends on trust and when you hide the truth, it means injustice. This seems to be one of the major weaknesses of our court system".
UWP leader and former prime minister Edison James described the ruling as a "pyrrhic victory" telling reporters that the evidence showed that both Skerrit and Saint Jean had in fact pledged allegiance to a foreign power before and leading up to the election.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in election matters and as a result the matter can't be appealed to the London-based Privy Council, the island's final court.