Court gives election victory to UPP and ALP

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer (l), Opposition Leader Gaston Browne (r)

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer (l), Opposition Leader Gaston Browne (r)

The opposition Antigua Labour Party has lost the re-registration case before the court of appeal but won its challenge to proposed boundaries changes.

The decisions were handed down in the Court of Appeal this morning.

The ruling in the registration case means the upcoming general elections would be conducted on the voters list emerging from the September 30 to November 4, 2013 reregistration exercise.

The ALP had challenged the process saying some commonwealth citizens who voted in the last election would be disenfranchised due to new residency requirements to register.

The party said the new rules ought not to have been retroactively applied.

The court however said those new rules established by an Act of Parliament were lawful.

And as such, those who do not fall within the new residency requirements, cannot not be registered.

Meanwhile, in the boundaries case, the Court of Appeal dismissed all but one of the opposition’s contentions. The point upheld said the consultations on boundary changes were inadequate.

In any case, the ALP succeeded in stopping boundary changes even before the court ruled. The prime minister made it clear last week that since parliament would have dissolved by the time the court spoke, no boundaries could have been realigned.

There had been wide speculation even before the national address that there wouldn’t have been enough time for changes anyway, as general election is due by July 2014.

The decisions were handed down by the Court of Appeal this morning during its sitting in Tortola.

Click to read the court’s summaries

Boundaries Ruling
Voter Registration Ruling

Here is how people voted in an antiguaobserver.com poll on the topic of electoral boundaries: Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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11 thoughts on “Court gives election victory to UPP and ALP

  1. Tenman seemingly missed the point that Parliament cannot give guidelines outside the parameters of the Constitution. Guidelines that make the Boundaries Commission subject to any person or authority are unconstitutional and therefore null and void. If Parliament wants such changes it must call a referendum to amend the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Order 1981 to give it the legal framework within which to craft its wishes.

    We have become a nation of I-specialists; we accommodate and accept any and everything based on say-so, hearsay, whim, fancy or any other frivolity. In the national interest one of our legal ‘luminaries’–with integrity– should volunteer to instruct and educate us on points, inter-relationship and workings of law. But then, would we listen?

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  2. Wordwise, the court used the very law passed recently which provided guidelines for he conduct of the BC. The constitution gives parliament the right to set these guidelines, it would then make no sense to suggest that the guidelines do not need to followed. Then again you may be someone who likes shiny things which mean nothing

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  3. Part 4, sections 63, 64 and 65 of the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Order 1981 set out the appointment, composition, operational procedure and reporting of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission. Section 63 subsection (8) states, “A Constituencies Boundaries Commission may regulate its own procedure.” Subsection (11) states, “In the exercise of its functions under this Constitution, a Constituencies Boundaries Commission shall not be subject to the control or direction of any other person or authority.” Section 64 subsection (3) states, “In reviewing the number, and the boundaries, of the constituencies and making its report thereon, a Constituencies Boundaries Commission shall be guided by such general principles as may be prescribed by Parliament.”

    The Commission is not bound to conduct public consultations nor is it bound to be guided by any suggestions and/or recommendations of the public no matter how ‘democratic’ such a process may be deemed. The Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda is the supreme law of the land and Parliament, in giving guidance as provided in Section 64 subsection (3), CANNOT prescribe or dictate principles that are ultra vires the Constitution or any Act or Regulations in the Laws of the country.

    This nation needs to be told on which Law did the Court of Appeal rely to uphold an appeal relating to the conduct of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission,
    on the basis of insufficient consultation.

    While we are aware of -and may be sympathetic to- the exigencies of the Court, Constitutional matters, especially electoral matters in an election year should be, and should have been, given highest priority by the Court.

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  4. The court of appeal was derelict in its duty by waiting until Parliament was dissolved in Antigua and Barbuda, to hand down an urgent and most important decision that had the potential to impact the up coming elections 2014..
    There are occasions when the court must act to satisfy the need of the broader community. The court does not serve in a vacuum it affects the life of the people it serves. Irrespective of the decision that came down today, judicial prudence should have been in the forefront of deliberations.

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  5. ConspiracyTheorist April 28, 2014 at 16:24 - Reply

    Why isn’t this your news headline on your Facebook page. Your headline on Facebook titled “Breaking News: ALP wins boundaries case” does not give the other side to the court case.

    I’m just saying.

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    -20Controversial!

  6. Where is the Gerrymandering?The court ruled there was no such a thing.They ruled that the Boundaries Commission did not have enough consultation.That is a technicality in my opinion.

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  7. Observer shld report tht while alp won the boundaries case they dismissed alp claim tht there wad gerrymandering and tht asot must be guaranteed a seat. This was their main n loudest claim. And to end up with a win based on the opinion tht consultations were inadequate is not a win. They did nit even tke part in the consultations tht did occur. Please

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  8. The court made their ruling and it seems like ALP accepts the decision. My only question is when will re-registration continue? Since I didn’t get the chance to register!! # Waiting

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  9. I think its a fair decision……..the next time any government wants to conduct boundaries changes, they would do this at an earlier time, thereby enabling any challenges to proceed without this kangaroo game.

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  10. They didn’t win anything because the ruling came late. This is what is called a moot point and a useless decision.

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