Skerrit awaits court ruling

ROSEAU, Dominica – A High Court judge Friday reserved judgment in the dual citizenship case involving Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his Education Minister Petter Saint Jean after two days of hearing arguments.

Justice Gertel Thom is expected to make a determination whether the two ministers should be ordered to disclose their passports in answer to charges that they held dual citizenship at the time they were nominated to contest the December 2009 general election that was won by Skerrit’s Dominica Labour Party (DLP)..

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) had petitioned the court to overturn the election victories of Skerrit and Saint Jean on the grounds that they were citizens of France at the time of the polls.

In its petition, the opposition party stated that their nominations and subsequent election should be declared “void and of no legal effect.”

Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan told the court on Friday that his clients had no obligation to submit their passports since the onus was on the UWP to prove its case against the two elected officials.

Astaphan described the UWP team as being on a “fishing expedition” in search of evidence.

But Trinidad-born Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes, who is representing the UWP, argued otherwise, urging that there should be disclosure of the passports of Skerrit and Saint Jean.

He argued that a fair trial would require that both sides be given the opportunity to see all documents relevant to the proceedings. (CMC)

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