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All ten UWP elections petitions have been struck out; petitioners have been ordered to pay $5,000 to respondents

by: - October 15, 2020
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All ten election petitions filed by the United Workers Party were struck out by Justice Raulston Glasgow

The decision was handed down during proceedings on Wednesday October 14, 2020, at the Dominica High Court on Bayfront.

The UWP was seeking to have the court overturn the election results in St. Joseph, Mahaut, Morne Jaune, La Plaine, Castle Bruce, Salybia, Roseau Valley, Roseau Central, Roseau South and Wesley constituencies.

The United Workers Party filed the petitions stemming from the December 2019 general elections which included allegations of treating, bribery, intimidation, importation of voters, voting irregularities, electoral official’s misconduct among others.

Senior Council, Anthony Astaphan, had previously argued that the election petition was not perfected in the designated time frame according the elections act.

He added that the petition failed to meet the standards to be heard in court as it fails to name any elector who was brought to the country to vote, anyone who was bribed, bribe amounts and recipients.

Astaphan told the court that every irregularity cannot “void” an election and the petitions have not been perfected and the claims filed are merely indicating alleged breaches.

Speaking with vibes radio he said, “Politicians can talk a thousand and 1 times about certain things and may convince themselves and their supporters but that is not facts that you can plead in a sufficiently clear way to identify a cause of action that a judge would allow to go to trial.”

Justice Glasgow, (the third judge assigned by the OECS Supreme Court to hear the application to strike out the 10 election petitions after both justice Bernie Stephenson and Eddie Ventose had recused themselves) agreed with Astaphan’s assertion adding that he would not set aside results of an election due to irregularities if those irregularities did not affect the results of the election.

Astaphan stated that this is the third occasion that an election petition has been struck out.

This is now the third election- 2005, 2009, and 2014- that the elections petition filed by the United Worker Party has been struck out at the earliest possible opportunity. The reason for this is you cannot bring political allegations from the political arena and put it in a case

Astaphan added that he was not surprised by the decision.  “We were absolutely convinced from day one that these petitions were incurable bad, were badly pleaded and it was more like a political manuscript rather than a petition setting out an illegal cause of action.

He added, “All of the allegations have been thrown out  in a meticulous way. The  judge went through every allegations that were common to all petitions and the diversion allegations that were made separately in individual allegations.”

Adding insult to injury the petitioners were ordered to pay $5,000 dollars as cost. “The judge who also expressed his dissatisfaction with the nature of the allegations that were filed ordered the petitioners to pay $5,000 cost.”

Astaphan noted that generally cost is not awarded in these matters. “He had to make the petitioners understand that he was very unhappy with several if not most of the allegations which were brought forward.”