ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer suffered a double whammy in the Court of Appeal yesterday by losing two cases to former Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) chairman Sir Gerald Watt QC. It’s already been decided though the country’s leader will be appealing.
Speaking about the victory, Sir Gerald’s lawyer, Dr David Dorsett, said in one case, the appellate court overturned a High Court judgment by Justice Mario Michel and ruled that the country’s leader acted unlawfully when he signed an order on January 31, 2012 that brought into effect, retroactively, the amendment to the Representation of the People’s Act which ensured Sir Gerald’s removal from the commission.
Although he is yet to receive a copy of the judgment, Dr Dorsett said, based on what was reported to him, he and Sir Gerald won the application seeking an order that the PM’s move was wrong.
He said they had argued the Prime Minister’s decision to sign the order on January 31, 2012, and give it retroactive life dating back to December 22, 2011, was unconstitutional because on January 25, 2012, High Court Justice Jennifer Remy had ruled Sir Gerald’s removal a year earlier was illegal and he was “entitled to and continues to be the chairman of the Electoral Commission.”
Speaking of the second case, Dr Dorsett said Spencer had appealed Justice Remy’s judgment, but lost before the Court of Appeal yesterday as well.
“The court of appeal has upheld the judgment of Justice Remy, which is to the effect that at all material times, Sir Gerald was the chairman of the Electoral Commission,” he told OBSERVER media in an exclusive interview yesterday.
As it relates to what this means for the current composition of the commission, Dr Dorsett said that’s for the authorities to figure out.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)