EC SC rules St. Kitts and Nevis Opposition Leader must step down from national assembly for being a holder of a Dominica Diplomatic Passport.

March 12, 2020 - 243 views

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s Court of Appeal has rebuked former Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and current Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzel Douglas for intentionally disregarding his constitutional obligations as a member of Parliament.

The Court of Appeal ruled today, March 12th, 2020, that Dr. Douglas, who was elected on February 16th, 2015 as a member of the National Assembly is required to vacate his seat with immediate effect as a penalty for ignoring the law set out in the Constitution in relation to qualifications for being a Member of Parliament. 

The Court of Appeal’s bombshell judgment, which indicates the gravity of Dr. Douglas’ offense, was made by reason of his own act of acknowledging allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state, namely the Commonwealth of Dominica.

The Government’s appeal was heard by Chief Justice the Hon. Dame Janice M. Pereira,DBE, as well as Justice of Appeal the Hon. Mde. Gertel Thom and Justice of Appeal [Ag.] the Hon. Mr. Paul Webster. 

The Chief Justice stated, in part: “The cumulative effect of my conclusions is that Dr. Douglas, by his application for, receipt and use of a Dominican diplomatic passport, placed him in a clear breach of Section 28 of the constitution.”

She went on to note, “ as a matter of law, the consequences in the terms of section 33(3)(c) follow. That consequence is that Dr. Douglas is required to vacate his seat in the National Assembly in Saint Christopher and Nevis.”

Hon. Thom and Hon. Webster both concurred. 

On July 30th, 2015, the Commonwealth of Dominica issued a diplomatic passport to Dr. Denzil Douglas, who subsequently traveled to at least five countries on it.

The diplomatic passport, which records Dr.Douglas as being a citizen of Dominica, has an expiry date of July 29th, 2020.

According to Section 36(7) of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Constitution, the Court of Appeal is the final court that can rule on questions of membership in the National Assembly. This is, therefore, the final decision on the matter of Dr. Douglas’ divided loyalty and his sworn allegiance to Dominica.