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Opposition to File Papers in Court Next Week

Image of Dr Ernest Hilaire

IT’S official, the Saint Lucia Labour Party, hopefully, will be filing a number of cases in a court of law in relation to the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill that went through both houses of parliament last week.

The revelation was made by Castries South Parliamentarian Ernest Hilaire during Thursday afternoon’s talk show ‘The Lunch Room’ with show host Calixte George Jr. on Radio Caribbean International.

Image of Castries South Parliamentarian Ernest Hilaire
Castries South Parliamentarian Ernest Hilaire

According to Hilaire by early next week his party will file a number of cases against what happened in parliament with regards to the COVID-19 (Prevention and Control) Bill and that the party’s lawyers were currently researching and preparing their documents in preparation for filing.

The Bill, and the manner in which it went through parliament, particularly when it arrived on the Senate floor, stirred up controversy among some members of the population.

There have been several calls for the Bill to be deferred for further discussion and review by some members of the public who claimed it was not given enough time for discussion and review in the public domain.

Government disagreed claiming that the Bill was in the public domain long enough for persons and interested parties to have debated it to their hearts content.

The Bill first made its appearance in parliament on Tuesday 29 September 2020 at a House of Assembly meeting where it went through all its stages angering the opposition who walked out of the House as a form of protest action claiming that certain sections of the Bill were unconstitutional and illegal.

The Opposition has since called for certain sections of the Bill to be removed and others reworded. According to Hilaire Thursday, the opposition would not have walked out if Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was prepared to make changes to the Bill.

Controversy surrounded the Bill further when Independent Senators Adrian Augier and Mauricia Thomas-Francis informed they were unavailable for last Thursday’s Senate session for reasons given by them resulting in a quorum not being met for that day’s session.

With the same two senators unable to meet the following day, government, undaunted, decided to move ahead and according to Prime Minister Chastanet in consultation with legal minds had three senators sworn in that day, two of whom were said to be temporary independent senators.

This move drew nationwide anger with the opposition summing it all up as a rape of the island’s democracy.

Prime Minister Chastanet and other government ministers have been undeterred in the face of mounting criticism over the Bill’s passage through parliament. According to the Prime Minister the two independent senators merely sat in for the two who were unable to make it to the Senate that day.

3 Comments

  1. I find it totally absurb that the individuals elected to represent our interests in the house of Parliament choose to walk out when a public health bill (Covid 19 control and prevention bill) is being debated. As if that was not bad enough, they instruct their senate representatives to renege on their duties to the citizens of Saint Lucia instead of coming to the House to discuss the bill and highlight any areas of concern. Other than the cries of lack of consultation by a minority of stakeholders, I have yet to hear any serious issues with the bill. So now the opposition takes aim at the parliamentary process and the constitution, a constitution which they failed or rather refused to reform when they had a clear mandate from the people of Saint Lucia. Meanwhile we have recorded a new case of covid 19 which provides evidence of community spread at the same time that the slp promises more mass crowd events. This legal action, whether justified or not, is the least of my worries. I fully support any legislation that will protect me and my family and the citizens of Saint Lucia from this deadly disease. It is simply a matter of PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY.

  2. I thought I was the only one frustrated with this picture; this is not a game, at least not to me.
    It appeares that every time I see this man’s face, it has to be, the filing of some Case or cases
    against some Parliamentarian and this one, against his own Government. Why is this man so
    obsessed with Court Cases? is he a Lawyer? don’t think so, but rather an Elected member of
    his Government. All politics aside, but this is ridiculous; there should be a Law to charge this
    man for being a burden on the system of justice. The Courts have a lot more urgent matters
    to deal with, such as crime, rather to tie up the system with your petty political game. We all
    do appreciate your frustration, having a Phd and not being leader of your Political Party but
    that’s your problem, not ours; Workout your frustration in the House, not in Court, as usual.

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