Witness statements in relation to election petitions brought before the Court by the St Vincent Opposition party NDP will have to be filed in the Court by July 2018.
A trial date has been set for the 24th or the 25th of September 2018, while documents to be used in the trial have already been exchanged by both parties involved.
Lawyer Anthony Astaphan said the discussion surrounding some 100 witnesses that the Opposition wants to bring, is a completely “over the moon statement”.
Astaphan, speaking on Boom Fm on Monday 4th June, said, “One of the things that we are going to be careful about, is not allowing any evidence in, that has not been pleaded”.
“Under elections law”, says Astaphan, “you cannot amend your pleadings after the deadlines have ended, and if you cannot amend, you cannot bring any evidence through the back door.
This is something I have battled with throughout the OECS.”
Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph then asked Astaphan, “What would happen if the Judge were to rule in the NDP’s favour? What would be the next step?”
Astaphan replied, “Nothing! Like Antigua in 2009, the UPP government lost 2 or 3 petitions which would have cost them the government, but they appealed and inevitably you going to get a stay of execution, because you cannot change the government before the final process is over”.
When asked about how confident they were going forward, Astaphan said;
“The Prime Minister was more confident of this case than we were initially. One of the things he mentioned was the OAS report to which the NDP is relying on. There was only one issue of concern, in that of Sir Louis Straker’s constituency in terms of the counting. However, that would not have affected the outcome of the elections”.
Astaphan said, however, that once the house is dissolved, the election petitions are dead.
The esteemed lawyer added that he was not making any pronouncements on behalf of the government in terms of elections.