The High Court has granted an interim injunction that prevents the tribunal of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) from taking disciplinary action against St Peter MP, Asot Michael.
High Court Judge Rohan Phillip said that the party was restricted from continuing with the proceeding, which was started by the ABLP tribunal, following comments the MP made about the party and its leadership in September.
As a result, the tribunal is also not able to put into effect any disciplinary decision that has been made regarding the MP’s actions.
Observer caught up with Michael outside the court, where he shared his view of today’s judgement.
“I’m very, very happy that the judge ruled in our favour to grant the restriction that no further action can be taken by theAntigua Barbuda Labour Party in terms of proceeding to set up the tribunal which is really and clearly illegal and unconstitutional and not set up properly according to the constitution of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party,” he told Observer.
The judge however ruled that there was no basis to challenge the validity of the tribunal’s action (grant judicial review), citing that the application did not qualify as a public matter.
He explained, “We always knew that there were two schools of thought – whether the application fell in the ambit of public law or private law and there were arguments put forward by my lawyers that the law has evolved in the Caribbean that political parties and members of political parties also hold public offices, so you can bring application for a private entity which is not a public entity like the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party – which we sought to do.”
Michael’s team would now have to submit a private claim to support its case against the tribunal.
The application to the court was made by Michael’s legal team against the ABLP chairman Mary-Claire Hurst.
A case management date will be announced after Michael’s legal team files the appropriate claim within seven days.
A written copy of the judgement is to be made available by the end of the day.
On November 2, Michael filed an application in court asking that the tribunal take corrective action or stop from proceeding with any action against him.
In the application, Michael’s legal team argued that the tribunal was unlawfully constituted, that its decision to take action against him is tainted with bias and that the action of the party breached his constitutional rights.
Michael also sought compensation, which the court did not grant.
In September Michael called Observer’s on-air programme – The Snake Put- where he made a number of accusations against the head of the party, prime minister Gaston Browne, and even challenged the party’s leadership by calling for a convention to be held.