(STLUCIATIMES)Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud South scored another victory in the Courts yesterday, 15 May 2023.
An urgent application was filed by Allen Chastanet to restrain the Speaker of the House, Claudius Francis from excluding him, as Leader of the Opposition and a member of the House, from sitting in the House when it next convenes.
Mr. Chastanet had contended this was unlawful.
The UWP is pleased the Members reminded themselves of the democratic principles that govern us and Mr. Ernest Hilaire, who is the Leader of government Business in the House, filed an affidavit indicating that the Government members intended to pass a motion at the next sitting of the House to lift the suspension.
On that basis, the parties negotiated the terms of an undertaking that was given by the Speaker to the Court, which has the same injunctive effect as if an order had been made by the Court.
The undertaking given by the Speaker was as follows:
(1) to invite the Claimant to attend the next sitting of the House, whenever that should occur;
(2) not to exclude or cause to be excluded the Claimant from entering the House or the precincts of the House;
(3) to allow the Claimant to take his seat in the House, but not participate in proceedings, pending the vote on the motion to lift the suspension of the Claimant;
(4) the motion to lift the suspension of the Claimant shall be the first matter to be dealt with by the House at the next sitting of the House, whenever that should occur; and
(5) upon the motion being carried, the Claimant will be at liberty to carry on his duties in service of the House.
Democracy has prevailed and Mr. Chastanet will therefore, be attending the next, and any subsequent sittings of the House and NO APOLOGY is required of him.
Mr. Chastanet’s substantive claim for a declaration that his suspension and detention were unconstitutional and unlawful, and for damages, has been scheduled for case management and trial later this year.
Only three months ago, the Opposition leader was victorious in the Courts in a Claim brought by him against the Speaker.
This underscores the need to remain vigilant when the government holds a significant majority in Parliament. The Speaker of the House has a duty to protect the rights and interests of the minority and uphold impartiality, lest the very essence of our democracy be undermined.
The Speaker must ensure that all voices, particularly those of the minority, are heard and respected.
The United Workers Party is pleased with the outcome of this matter and will continue to oppose every effort made to silence the Opposition and to call for the resignation of the Speaker.