NIA Ministers Brantley, Brand Victorious as Judge Strikes Out Opposition Election Petitions
CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS, February 27, 2023 (NIA) – The election petitions brought against elected representatives in the Nevis Island Assembly and sitting Ministers in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Premier Hon. Mark Brantley and Hon. Spencer Brand was on Monday, February 27, 2023, struck out and dismissed.
Premier Brantley’s victory as the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) candidate in Nevis 2, St. John on December 12, 2022, Nevis Island Assembly was challenged by his opponent Dr. Patricia Bartlette of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), while Hon. Brand, the CCM candidate for Nevis 1, St. Paul, saw his election victory challenged by NRP candidate Ms. Jaedee Caines. The petitioners also named the Electoral Commission, the Supervisor of Elections, respective Registration and Returning Officers, and the Attorney General of St. Kitts and Nevis as respondents.
All respondents filed applications to have the petitions struck out. High Court Judge Justice Patrick Thompson Jr. heard arguments relating to the strike-out applications on February 15, 2023, reserving the decision until February 27.
On Monday Justice Thompson Jr. ruled that the case submission for Ms. Caines’ election petition was filed outside of the 21-day period provided for by Section 98 of the National Assembly Elections Act, and was therefore “a nullity and is struck out and dismissed”.
With respect to Dr. Bartlette’s petition, Justice Thompson Jr. stated that because the petition was not properly filed within the stipulated time “this court is thus compelled to find that Dr. Bartlette’s petition is struck out for non-compliance with Rules 8(1) and 9(4) of the Rules”.
The judge further ruled that the petitioners shall pay costs to the respondents; such costs to be assessed by the court, if not agreed.
Premier Brantley, who attended the court sitting electronically said, “The victory today brings an end to the efforts by the NRP to extend the electioneering in Nevis. These petitions were incurably bad and the learned Judge followed a long line of decided cases in striking them out. That the Court also condemned the petitioners in costs is telling as that demonstrates the extent to which these petitions were flawed and the stubborn insistence of the petitioners in wasting the court’s time. Today is a good day for Nevis and we can now continue with our work on behalf of the people of our island.”
Hon. Brand was present in court for Monday’s decision. He stated his satisfaction that the petitions had been struck out and thanked the law firm of Daniel Brantley for its excellent representation on his and the Honourable Brantley’s behalf.