The chance for history to be made in Grenada was given as the injunction filed in the high court by Barrister-at-law, James “Jimmy” Bristol to prevent Thursday’s referendum from taking place was dismissed by a female high court judge.
In a brief ruling on Tuesday, Justice Wynante Roberts ruled in favour of the arguments put forward by Solicitor-General, Dwight Horsford on behalf of Supervisor of Elections, Alex Phillip.
Bristol moved for the injunction on behalf of his client, Valerie Thompson-Duncan on the grounds that there were 19 breaches committed to the Referendum Act that set out the procedure for the holding of the poll.
When the lawyers emerged from the judge’s chambers at high court #3, the Solicitor General gave his interpretation of the ruling.
He said: “The judge indicated that in substance, the failure to comply strictly with the constitutional referendum act on the part of the Supervisor as alleged by Mr. Bristol were not established or were not made out on the facts. After review of the papers, after hearing submissions of counsel, she was not persuaded that there were any substantial breaches of the Constitutional Referendum Act, on the part of the Supervisor of Elections so as to even interfere with the conduct of the referendum polls.
“…There was a challenge by Mr. Bristol and his client relative to the publication of the writs and the various bills in the newspapers….there was no basis made out at all for even considering to grant an injunction…”, he told reporters.
Chairman of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC), Dr. Francis Alexis who also put forward legal arguments on the matter, described Bristol’s action as “a misconception”.
“Every single point put forward by the Claimant through her lawyers, every single one was struck down and the court had no hesitation in ruling that (1), you had adequate publishing of the writs and the bills, (2), that it was a misconception.
“… It always was a misconception to leading the requirements of the bills being attached to the writs in section five to section one of the Referendum Act into section five sub section two of that Act because you can attach those to writs when the Governor General is sending them to the Supervisor of Elections.
“As a matter of practicality and common sense, you cannot do that when you printing it in the newspaper but it is a woeful misconception to be making noise around the country that the bills were not attached to the writs in the newspapers…we are gratified that the court made the point.
For his part, Bristol told reporters that he will be challenging the ruling of justice Roberts if there is a “yes” vote in the referendum.
“We are at liberty to challenge because this is not a ruling on the merits of the case and depending on the outcome of the referendum; we will still continue the challenge because we still believe that a court must decide on the facts.
“This is just an injunction, it doesn’t decide (the issue) based on full evidence and it (is) just an intermediary that we sought…depending on the outcome of the referendum, we will be back in court to challenge the outcome.
“…If it’s a no vote, we don’t come back but if there is any “yes” votes I think we definitely going to be back in court because this cannot rest here. We disagree strongly with the way the referendum process was advertised in the press.
“I think the judge made a grave error but we can’t win now but we can take the point on a formal petition after the results have been announced, if that is necessary although I am confident that we will have a “no” vote throughout because I think the Grenada public from my feedback is dissatisfied with the process, dissatisfied with the way it’s been handled and I am confident that there is going to be a “no” vote.
According to Dr. Alexis, if Bristol persist with the legal matter in court, “we will be ready for him, let him come.”
The CRAC head indicated that the results proved that the Supervisor of Elections and his team were always on top of the process.