On Jan 8, 2019
Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 07, 2019 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Six, the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, heads back to court for trial before Resident High Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Trevor Ward QC on Thursday, January 10, 2019, to face questions about where his allegiance lies as it relates to him holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis prohibits Members of Parliament from holding dual-citizenship.
Dr. Douglas, in an affidavit filed in the High Court Registry on February 21, 2018, admitted to holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica (DP 0000462), which he has used to travel on April 23, 2016. Dr. Douglas also admitted to filling out and signing an application form for the diplomatic passport he holds, which is valid until July 29, 2020.
The parliamentary disqualification case had its first hearing in the High Court on February 26, 2018, before Justice Ward. and is now at trial stage with the summoning and presentation of experts on Dominican Law as it relates to questions of allegiance—the Claimants have two experts and the Defendant has one.
The Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis acting on advice of learned Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes of Trinidad and Tobago is asking the High Court to declare that Dr. Douglas has vacated his seat in the National Assembly by holding a diplomatic passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Constitutional Motion also seeks an injunction to restrain Dr. Douglas from taking part in the proceedings of the National Assembly.
Lawyers for the Government are arguing that by filling out an application form for a passport of another country, being issued with said passport and using that passport to travel are positive acts that constitute acts of adherence, allegiance and obedience to a foreign power.
Section 28 (1) of the Constitution of St. Christopher and Nevis and Section Six (6) of the National Assemblies Act both provide that “a person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he is by virtue of his own act under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
Dr. Douglas’s lawyers are Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Ms. Angelina Sookoo and Delano Bart QC led by Mr. Anthony Astaphan SC.
The Government’s lawyers include Ms. Talibah Byron, Mr. Michael Quamina and Mr. MacClure Taylor led by Mr. Douglas Mendes SC.