May 28, 2020
The urgent Court case brought by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party to the High Court on May 22 and 27, 2020 through its representatives the Hon. Konris Maynard, the Hon. Marcella Liburd and the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas against the Attorney General and ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation, was heard today, May 28, 2020 at 9 am. The constitutional challenge which was served yesterday, is seeking an injunction on the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation for infringements of the rights and liberties of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, its candidates and supporters and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in general.
Mr. Sylvester Anthony, Counsel for the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party clarified what took place during the popular “Voices” programme on WINN FM 098.9 FM where he expressed his alarm and concern.
“During the two hour deliberations, the lawyers of the Attorney General sought to have the matter of the hearing adjourned until Tuesday and the judge indicated that he would hear the matter today and that he would not adjourn it to Tuesday. However, when he returned judge recused himself and the matter has now been set before another judge for 10 am tomorrow,” he elaborated.
Mr. Anthony took the opportunity to dispel some of the myths that have been circulating on social media and in social commentary that the Labour Party’s case is seeking an injunction against the State of Emergency or the upcoming election.
“This application is not an injunction on the State of Emergency or an injunction on the Election. It is an injunction asserting that the State of Emergency should end because it is being used in a manner that is discriminatory; that the regulations are disproportionate and are not necessary at this point for the managing of the COVID-19 pandemic based on the medical and scientific evidence that the government itself has advanced. That’s what this case is about,” said Mr. Anthony.
“[The case is also] about ZIZ Corporation, a state-owned media house not ensuring that all political voices are heard. It is not about getting “free-time” on ZIZ, it is about getting equal time … It is about ensuring that the activities of Opposition Parties are covered in the news and current affairs programming of the state-owned media … So this case is not about injuncting the Election. It is not about injuncting the State of Emergency. It is not about opening the borders for planes to land. This is about ensuring that the Government does not continue to use the COVID-19 Regulations to give itself an advantage in a political campaign and to suppress the voices of the Opposition and the supporters of the Opposition. That’s what this case is about,” the Senior Counsel explained further.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party awaits the 10 am hearing and is determined to vigorously defend its claim that the government, in an abuse of its power, is using the COVID-19 as a cover to give themselves an advantage in a political campaign and to suppress the voices of the Opposition and the supporters of the Opposition.