Last night I heard the Prime Minister accuse the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal of ‘extra ordinary and inexplicable delay.’
This is an extraordinary and disingenuous allegation by the Prime Minister, and another transparent example of a complete lack of honest leadership. The Court of Appeal is now his political excuse for his failures as Leader and the complete mess and delays engineered by himself, his party and cronies on the various Commissions.
The Labour Party condemns this cheap shot at the integrity of the Court of Appeal. The Court is fully aware of its obligations to the people of the OECS. It has no obligation to massage its schedule or duties to fit the political timetable and agenda of any Prime Minister or any political party. The mere suggestion by the Prime Minister that the Court was obliged to hurry these most important judgments because of his timetable and the Attorney General’s ‘reminder’ and demands is simply disrespectful and contemptuous of the independence of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the established principle of the separation of powers.
The delay in the boundaries and registration matters were not in any way caused by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal did everything to accommodate the hearings but required the consent of all parties. This was not always immediate or forth coming. There were earlier delays all of which were caused by Mr. Baldwin Spencer. It was his political party under his lack of political leadership that decided it was in their political interests to, at the 11th hour gerrymander the boundaries and eliminate thousands of electors from the Register. It was the patriotic duty and obligation of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party to resist this 11th hour attack on our democracy and free and fair elections.
It should be noted that the 2009 electoral petitions, which were less complex than the boundaries and re-registration litigations took significantly longer to be litigated yet, there was no such attack on the Appeal Court, which ruled in favour of Mr. Spencer and his other colleagues. This disrespect of the rule of law and contempt for the Courts and the people has become characteristic Mr. Spencer’s rulership which is fast coming to an end. The destruction of our country during his tenure will be recorded in the annals of our history as a monumental leadership failure.
The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party will await the decisions of the Court of Appeal with patience and respect as it did with the judgment of the appeals which followed the 2009 general election.
– Hon. Gaston Browne