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Seven (7) Election Petitions Filed following General Elections in St. Kitts and Nevis
Office of the AG
Appearances by Leading Lawyers from Across the Caribbean
The 2020 General Elections were held on the Friday, 5th June and following the counting of ballots and declaration of results, the Returns of the winning candidates were submitted to the Governor General by the Returning Officers on Saturday, 6th June. The tri-partite Team Unity Movement won nine (9) of the eleven (11) seats in St. Kitts and Nevis to form the Government for a second term. In St. Kitts, six (6) of eight (8) seats were won by the Peoples Action Movement (PAM) and the Peoples Labour Party (PLP) candidates who defeated the candidates of the St. Kitts Labour Party. In Nevis three (3) seats were won by the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) which defeated the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).
Following the swearing in ceremony of Cabinet at Warner Park on Sunday 14th June, Election Petitions were filed by seven (7) of the eight (8) losing candidates in St. Kitts.
The first Petition which was filed on June 25th, 2020 was filed by former Government Minister Ian Patches Liburd, Team Unity’s PAM candidate in Constituency No 1. Mr. Liburd filed his petition against Returning Officer for Constituency No. 1 Mr. Jermaine Lake and Dr. Jeffrey Hanley, the Labour Party candidate, who was returned for that constituency by 24 votes more than Mr. Liburd. Mr. Liburd claims that several of the 99 rejected ballots are valid ballots cast in his favour.
Petitions were filed by the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party candidates in Constituencies No 2, No 3, No 4, No 5, No 7, and No 8 on Friday 26th, June. The Labour Party candidates in all these Petitions allege bribery, treating and general corruption arising from the distribution of care packages by the Team Unity Candidates and the distribution of land by the Ministry of Sustainable Development allegedly for votes. In Constituencies No. 3 and No. 8, the Petitioners also allege voter registration irregularities and irregularities which occurred on election day. They asked the Court to find that the elections are null and void and to order that new elections be held.
All the Petitions named the Candidates who were returned, the Supervisor of Elections and the Returning Officers as Respondents. The Petitions filed by Mr. Konris Maynard candidate for Constituency No. 3 and Dr. Terrance Drew candidate for Constituency No. 8 also named the Registration Officers and the members of the Electoral Commission, Chairman Nassibou Butler, former Attorney General Mr. Jason Hamilton and Mr. Joseph Liburd as Respondents.
Petitioner Ian Patches Liburd and the Team Unity candidates who were returned are represented by Douglas Mendes SC of Trinidad and Christopher Hamel-Smith SC of Barbados, Michael Quamina and Imran Ali instructed by Ms Talibah Byron of Byron & Byron and Natasha Gray.
Returning Officer Jermaine Lake is represented by Dane Hamilton QC of Antigua who leads Victor Hamilton of Elliott McClure. Dr. Jeffrey Hanley is represented by Anthony Astaphan SC, Mr. Sylvester Anthony and Ms. Angelina Sookoo.
The Supervisor of Elections, Returning Officer and Registration Officers are represented by Mr. Eamon Courtenay SC of Belize who leads Solicitor General Simone Bullen Thompson, Senior Crown Counsel Tashna Powell-Williams, Ms. Illiana Swift, Mr. Jerome Rajcoomar and Ms. LaShaun Smart.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission and Mr. Joseph Liburd are represented by Reginald Armour SC and Ms. Vanessa Gopal, instructed by Sherry-Ann Liburd-Charles. Mr. Jason Hamilton is represented by Miselle O’Brien and Keisha Spence.
All Petitions are set down for hearing on Friday 17th July before His Lordship, Justice Trevor Warde QC, by videoconference.