Judgment reserved in Dominica’s dual citizenship case

Justice Gertel Thom has reserved the decision in the dual citizenship case involving Dominica’s Prime Minister Honorable Roosevelt  Skerrit and the Education Minister Honorable Petter Saint Jean, after two days of hearing arguments.

 

The St Vincent-based, Guyanese-born judge, who flew to Dominica for the hearing, is expected to make a determination on whether the two ministers should be ordered to disclose their passports in answer to charges that they held dual citizenship at the time they were nominated to contest the 2009 general election that was won by the Dominica Labour Party (DLP).

 

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) had petitioned the court to overturn the election victories of Mr Skerrit and Mr Saint Jean on the grounds that they were citizens of France at the time of the elections.

 

In its petition, the opposition party stated that their nominations and subsequent election should be declared "void and of no legal effect".

 

Senior counsel Anthony Astaphan told the court on Friday that his clients had no obligation to submit their passports since the onus was on the UWP to prove its case against the two elected officials.

 

Astaphan described the UWP team as being on a "fishing expedition" in search of evidence.

 

But Trinidad-born Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes, who is representing the UWP, argued otherwise, saying that there should be disclosure of the passports of the two ministers.

 

He argued that a fair trial would require that both sides be given the opportunity to see all the documents that are relevant to the proceedings.

 

It is a policy of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court that election petitions and other sensitive cases should be heard by judges who are not resident in the jurisdictions where the cases originate.

© 2012 SAT Telecommunications Ltd.

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