Categorized | Local, News, Regional

AG insists UNC court challenge to election

AG Faris_375697563

Mr. Faris Al Rawi

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – Attorney General Faris Al Rawi Saturday maintained that the move by the opposition United National Congress (UNC) to challenge the results of the September 7 general elections is a waste of time even though a High Court Friday night granted the party leave to challenge a decision by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to extend voting by one hour.

Al Rawi said that it is “normal procedure” for the courts to courts to grant leave ex-parte and there is nothing to celebrate and the petitions are destined to fail.

“As I have said previously, they are perfectly entitled to approach the court. My own view not having seen the papers yet, but from what has been reported is that the substantive application…is destined to fail.

“It is without merit and it lacks in any form or substance. The matter of obtaining leave to appeal is perhaps best described as procedural. It is a very very very low standard. The applications are dealt with on an ex-parte basis,” he said on radio here.

Lawyers for the UNC, the biggest partner in the coalition People’s Partnership that had contested the general election, said they had been granted leave to file petitions challenging the results in at least six constituencies.

The constituencies include San Fernando West, St. Joseph, Tunapuana, Moruga/ Tableland, La Horquetta/ Talparo,

The People’s National Movement (PNM) won the general election by a 23-18 margin, but the UNC had contended that the decision by the EBC to extend the voting period in Trinidad due to the inclement weather was unconstitutional and wrong.

Attorney Wayne Sturge told reporters that what transpired in the court “was the leave stage and contrary to what was espoused by the Attorney General and a former attorney general that this was vexatious, frivolous and without merit and so on.

“This stage is designed to weed out applications that are vexatious, frivolous and unmeritorious,” Sturge said, adding that “the court has found that there is merit in the application and that we have been given leave to present petitions”.

He said the next step will be the presentation of the petitions “and then we get a date to come to court and argue.

“In essence we feel and given past experiences this is something that is usually dealt with expeditiously,” he said, noting that a similar court challenge to the final determination had taken nine months to be completed.

“So we expect that in nine months we will know the final outcome, but this is a slap in the face of those who believe that it was vexatious and frivolous and this shows the rule of law prevails.

“The EBC is not a law unto itself as one of its officers sought to convey that they had extensive powers under Section 71 (8) of the Constitution. That is wholly wrong, the rule of law prevails and in due course we will get our justice,” he added.

The EBC had said that the voting had not been extended in the sister isle of Tobago and that all polling stations there would close at the stipulated 6.00 pm (local time).

Chief Elections Officer Ramesh Nanan said the decision to extend the voting in Trinidad was taken to facilitate electors adversely affected by the weather.

In a statement, the EBC said that “Section 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which establishes the Elections and Boundaries Commission also mandates its autonomy over the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency

“Additionally, the constitution allows the Commission to exercise their powers in an unfettered manner. Therefore, the decision to extend the hours of the poll finds its basis within the constitutional supervisory jurisdiction of the Commission in all election management matters,” the EBC added.

Al Rawi said the real battle begins when both parties will face the courts.

“So it is really of no moment that leave has been obtained. It is really a very low standard to cross over and the real battle will certainly be in the ventilation of the substantive petition in the court and I am confident that the UNC is destined to fail in there with its misguided approach to the court.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

AG Faris_375697563

Mr. Faris Al Rawi

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – Attorney General Faris Al Rawi Saturday maintained that the move by the opposition United National Congress (UNC) to challenge the results of the September 7 general elections is a waste of time even though a High Court Friday night granted the party leave to challenge a decision by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to extend voting by one hour.

Al Rawi said that it is “normal procedure” for the courts to courts to grant leave ex-parte and there is nothing to celebrate and the petitions are destined to fail.

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“As I have said previously, they are perfectly entitled to approach the court. My own view not having seen the papers yet, but from what has been reported is that the substantive application…is destined to fail.

“It is without merit and it lacks in any form or substance. The matter of obtaining leave to appeal is perhaps best described as procedural. It is a very very very low standard. The applications are dealt with on an ex-parte basis,” he said on radio here.

Lawyers for the UNC, the biggest partner in the coalition People’s Partnership that had contested the general election, said they had been granted leave to file petitions challenging the results in at least six constituencies.

The constituencies include San Fernando West, St. Joseph, Tunapuana, Moruga/ Tableland, La Horquetta/ Talparo,

The People’s National Movement (PNM) won the general election by a 23-18 margin, but the UNC had contended that the decision by the EBC to extend the voting period in Trinidad due to the inclement weather was unconstitutional and wrong.

Attorney Wayne Sturge told reporters that what transpired in the court “was the leave stage and contrary to what was espoused by the Attorney General and a former attorney general that this was vexatious, frivolous and without merit and so on.

“This stage is designed to weed out applications that are vexatious, frivolous and unmeritorious,” Sturge said, adding that “the court has found that there is merit in the application and that we have been given leave to present petitions”.

He said the next step will be the presentation of the petitions “and then we get a date to come to court and argue.

“In essence we feel and given past experiences this is something that is usually dealt with expeditiously,” he said, noting that a similar court challenge to the final determination had taken nine months to be completed.

“So we expect that in nine months we will know the final outcome, but this is a slap in the face of those who believe that it was vexatious and frivolous and this shows the rule of law prevails.

“The EBC is not a law unto itself as one of its officers sought to convey that they had extensive powers under Section 71 (8) of the Constitution. That is wholly wrong, the rule of law prevails and in due course we will get our justice,” he added.

The EBC had said that the voting had not been extended in the sister isle of Tobago and that all polling stations there would close at the stipulated 6.00 pm (local time).

Chief Elections Officer Ramesh Nanan said the decision to extend the voting in Trinidad was taken to facilitate electors adversely affected by the weather.

In a statement, the EBC said that “Section 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which establishes the Elections and Boundaries Commission also mandates its autonomy over the registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency

“Additionally, the constitution allows the Commission to exercise their powers in an unfettered manner. Therefore, the decision to extend the hours of the poll finds its basis within the constitutional supervisory jurisdiction of the Commission in all election management matters,” the EBC added.

Al Rawi said the real battle begins when both parties will face the courts.

“So it is really of no moment that leave has been obtained. It is really a very low standard to cross over and the real battle will certainly be in the ventilation of the substantive petition in the court and I am confident that the UNC is destined to fail in there with its misguided approach to the court.”