Judge reserves decision on challenge of Parliament makeup
A High Court judge has reserved her ruling on preliminary issues in the lawsuit challenging the validity of Parliament.
Lawyers on both sides concluded their submissions before Madam Justice Cicely Chase Q.C. on Friday when the case continued in case management during a virtual sitting that attracted almost 200 members of the public.
Former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is asking that the President’s decision to reconvene Parliament be quashed on the basis that only 18 of the 21 senators have been appointed since Parliament resumed back in February.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley is hoping to appoint an 18-year-old to the Upper House and have the party that won the second largest number of seats in the January 19 general election, the Democratic Labour Party, make two selections to make up the 21.
“Having heard the submissions of both sides . . . the matter will have to stand adjourned until I give my decision on the preliminary issues as outlined by the parties, and consequent upon that decision we will then go back to other issues to be dealt with in the matter but have not yet been ventilated in this court,” Justice Chase said on Friday.
The judge did not set a date for the delivery of that decision.
On Friday, the court heard submissions on the composition of the Senate and whether or not it is properly constituted.
Justice Chase also heard submissions from prominent constitutional attorney Gregory Nicholls on the issue of immunity of the President. Also representing the Attorney General is Queen’s Counsels Leslie Haynes, Roger Forde and Alrick Scott, and attorneys Kashawn Wood and Gregory Nicholls, along with Simone Scott from the Attorney General’s Chambers, with instructing attorneys from the chambers of Carrington & Sealy represented by Dr Adrian Cummins Q.C., Shericka Mohammed-Cumberbatch and Jason Wilkinson.
Earlier this week, Queen’s Counsel Garth Patterson, who is representing Brathwaite along with attorneys Michelle Russell and Rico Yearwood, argued that the actions of the President not to appoint the two senators were open to scrutiny.
“Immunity is a right that is personal to the President, which protects the President from being called before the courts. It doesn’t protect actions. The actions of the President are open to scrutiny in appropriate cases,” he said then.