Press Release By Hon Godwin Friday
The petitions filed by Benjamin Exeter and Lauron Baptiste challenging the election returns in the constituencies of Central Leeward and North Windward, respectively, are set for trial on February 11, 2019.
This date was given by Justice Henry. It is the third trial date the Court has given. The previous trial dates were set for September and December 2018 but the matters were adjourned.
Despite the change of judge in the matter, we expect that the new date February 11, 2019 will finally be the start date for the trial.
However, on Thursday 24th January, there will be a status hearing with the new judge in the matter and we will know better where things stand.
I spoke with our lead counsel in the matter, Mr. Stanley John, QC on Friday. As with most of us, he and our hardworking legal team are looking forward to the hearing later this week and to the trial in February.
This matter concerns all of us. It is not just a Ben Exeter matter or a Lauron Baptiste matter.
It is not just a Dr. Friday matter or an NDP matter. It is a Vincentian matter, perhaps even a Caribbean matter!
I know that with all the delay we have had and the apparent winding down of the clock to the constitutional date for fresh election, many people have been disappointed about the way the matters have gone.
We cannot allow the cases to go on without the public knowing what is happening and taking an interest in seeing them to their proper conclusion.
I am inviting one and all to come to the court on Thursday and on the subsequent days to witness the full unfolding of the legal process guaranteed by outlaws and traditions.
Our electoral process must be free and fair and must be seen to be so by the people who rely on it to elect their government.
The petition is necessary part of maintaining that system for all of us.