Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud South Honourable Allen Chastanet is continuing to fight back against efforts to silence him and infringe on our
The Opposition Leader is heading to court again, just three months after the High Court ordered Speaker of the House Claudius Francis to pay costs to the United Workers Party Leader.
On the first occasion, the court issued a consent order after House Speaker Francis acknowledged several procedural missteps in his effort to take the UWP Opposition Leader before the House Privileges Committee.
The latest matter centers on the May 2nd 2023 suspension of the Leader of the Opposition from the House and its precincts by the Speaker enabled by the SLP Parliamentarians.
The May 8th 2023 Affidavit from the Leader of the Opposition to the Eastern Caribbean
Supreme Court in the High Court of Justice is seeking relief from the courts citing that the House “has no power to suspend for an indefinite period or at all any of its members, save and except in accordance with and pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and/or the House of Assembly (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act.”
It was also put forward that Standing Orders 43 (4) and 43 (6) are “unconstitutional, null and void.”
The Opposition Leader further offered that the suspension from the House was “effected in a manner that violated” his rights “under sections 1 and 8 of the Constitution to the protection of the law and was, accordingly, illegal, unlawful and null and void and of no effect.”
The Claim also asserts that the Speaker of the House Claudius Francis “had no power to order the detention of the claimant when he attempted to leave the Chamber of the House of Assembly or at all.”
The Affidavit further states: “The arrest or detention of the Claimant was unlawful and violated the Claimant’s rights under sections 3 and 12 of the Constitution to personal liberty, freedom from arrest and free movement in Saint Lucia was accordingly illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.”
The Leader of the Opposition is also seeking from the Courts an Injunction against the Speaker of the House restraining him in his capacity as Speaker of the House “whether by himself, his servants or agents or otherwise howsoever, from excluding or otherwise preventing the Claimant from attending any sitting of the House or entering the precincts of the House.”
Mr. Chastanet is seeking damages for the breach or other contravention of his Constitutional Right and damages for wrongful arrest and detention, as well as for the unlawful suspension and the breach of his rights to serve as a member of the House.
The Opposition Leader’s request of an interlocutory injunction would restrain the House Speaker until the conclusion of the trial “from excluding or otherwise preventing the claimant from attending any sitting of the House or entering the precincts of the House.”
The very detailed and well-researched 43-page Affidavit lists the facts upon which the claim is based, giving information about what was said in the House of Assembly, information about the Bananes Bay Land sale which the Leader of the Opposition was enquiring about during the House session in question and the events leading up to and subsequent to the point of order raised by the Castries Central MP.
The claim details the ruling by the Speaker of the House, the arrest and suspension of the Leader of the Opposition.
In a statement after the case was filed, Opposition Leader Honourable Allen Chastanet noted thatthis case is not just about him but for the people of Saint Lucia.
“I will not be silenced,” said Hon. Chastanet. “I took a crucial step in upholding justice and
protecting our constitutional rights. This legal action is in response to the multiple breaches of my constitutional rights, including unlawful detention and their attempts to prevent me from attending future sessions of Parliament. I firmly believe in the importance of transparency, accountability, and the preservation of our democratic values. This fight is not just for me, but for the democratic principles and values that we all hold dear. Since July 26th 2021, we have consistently witnessed the Government use its 15-2 majority to abuse parliamentary procedure and the civil liberties of citizens. This case is a stand for all the people feeling the chilling effect of the abuse of power perpetuated by the Philip J Pierre administration. I will not rest until justice is served.”
SOURCE: Office of the Leader of the Opposition