Former Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite QC, has filed a constitutional motion seeking intervention from the Supreme Court to make a determination as to whether the Senate is properly constituted, having sworn in only 18 of the 21 legislators that comprise the Upper House.
Brathwaite is being represented by attorneys-at-law Garth Patterson QC, and Michelle Russell, who are currently filing the motion with the court. The development comes even though Parliament has already convened and is debating key amendments to the Constitution of Barbados.
The amendments allow for the party with the second highest number of votes to be allotted the two Opposition Senator seats in the absence of an Opposition Leader, as well as lowering the age that persons can serve as Senators from 21 to 18.
In a statement released moments ago, Brathwaite said: “I feel compelled to seek the intervention of the Courts to resolve this controversy, one that centres around issues of vital national importance, and goes to the root of our democracy. I have today instructed my lawyers to file in the High Court an application that seeks declaratory reliefs aimed at compelling this Government to put its house in order before conducting the affairs of State. I do so in my capacity as a former Attorney General for this country and as a private citizen who is deeply committed to the notion that our government must be according to laws.
“I wish to make it clear that I am not bringing this action on behalf of any political party with which I may have previously been affiliated. My action is guided by my profound desire to ensure that our republic remains a democracy. I place my confidence in the Courts, as the guardians of our Constitution, to resolve this pivotal and consequential constitutional crisis,” he continued.
“I have enlisted the assistance of my good friend and colleague of almost 40 years, Garth Patterson, QC, who has kindly answered my call to represent me in this important cause, and he will act on my behalf with the able assistance of Michelle Russell, Attorney-at-Law.”
The Barbados Labour Party won all 30 seats in the January 19, 2022 General Election for the second consecutive time, but unlike the previous occasion when Bishop Joseph Atherley crossed the floor to become Opposition Leader, no one in the party has done so.
The Senate was scheduled to meet on Wednesday but it did not do so.