Judgement of Court of Appeal Expected Monday

Dominica could have a new Prime Minister and Minister of Education tomorrow if the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) rules that Roosevelt Skerrit and Petter Saint Jean were unconstitutionally elected in the 2009 general elections.

The highly anticipated ruling in the election petition appeal made by the United Workers Party’s Maynard Joseph and Ron Green will be announced tomorrow morning.

This decision comes almost four months after Chief Justice Janice Pereira, Justice Mario Michel and Justice Dawn Mitchel reserved their decision in the matter after a hearing in November 2012.

Joseph and Green had appealed Justice Gertel Thom’s January 12, 2012 ruling that they had failed to establish that both Skerrit and Saint Jean were ineligible to contest the 2009 general elections because of their dual citizenship.

Both sides are expressing cautious optimism about tomorrow’s decision. Either way, there is a lot at stake.

If the judgment goes against PM Skeritt and Saint Jean, their election will be declared null and void and they will be required to vacate their seats. This will clear the way for the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Minister of Education. It is not quite clear at this time which member of cabinet will be given the opportunity to head the government.

The decision will also clear the way for bye elections in Veille Casse and Laplaine within ninety days, giving both Skerrit and Saint Jean an opportunity to contest for the seat.

There is also the likelihood that Dominicans could soon find themselves heading back to the polls in a general election to elect a new government. Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan has on more than one occasion hinted at that possibility should the decision go against his clients.

If however the ECSC judges uphold Thom’s decision, the judgment would once and for all put to rest any questions about Skerrit and Saint Jean’s illegibility.

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