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The High Court has upheld an injunction filed on Feb. 17, 2015, by Castries South East Member of Parliament, Guy Joseph, against the Boundaries Commission.
The decision restrains the governor general from signing the documents, which would allow the constituency boundary changes to take effect, until the legal matter is resolved.
The matter was brought before Justice Frances Belle, in the High Court this morning. A new date will be provided to both sides for the next hearing, as the matter will now be tried in court.
United Workers Party (UWP) Leader Allen Chastanet told the media today that he is of the opinion that the process of arriving at the report was breached.
Chastanet argued that the constitution requires that the commission act independently, which he believes was not the case in compiling the report. He alleged that SLP General Secretary Leo Clarke and Mayor of Castries Shirley Lewis were the ones who were mainly responsible for writing the report.
“Do you believe that they have the capacity to write that report? If they didn’t write the report then who wrote the report and who paid for the report? And are you sure that it meets the litmus test that the authority remains autonomous, Chastanet questioned.
In defending the report, Clarke said that the commission sat and reviewed proposals before it and having gone through extensive discussion on those proposals it came to the conclusion that those proposals were “proper and fitting”. It was then submitted to the governor general for approval.
There have been a number of debates regarding this issue. While some persons believe that the realignment is long overdue, others have questioned the urgency of making provisions for additional constituencies. Some persons have also said the country cannot afford it now.
However, others have said that by whatever means the country must adhere to the recommendations, in order to better serve the people. The Constituency Boundaries Commission has recommended that the number of constituencies be increased from 17 to 21.
The Commission recommends that Gros-Islet to be divided into three constituencies and a new constituency be created by conjoining contiguous parts of Babonneau, Castries North and Castries East to reduce on the size of those constituencies.
It also recommended that a new constituency be created from Castries South East and Castries South, to reduce on the size of Castries South East.