An attempt to prevent Kelvin “Shugy” Simon from being sworn in as the parliamentary representative of St. Mary’s South was made this morning, January 31, in the High Court of Justice.
On Monday, REAL News reported that a constituent had filed a petition challenging the legality of Simon’s nomination and seeking a declaration that his nomination had contravened the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda and the Civil Service Act.
On Tuesday, however, the effort was stepped up, with the Court being petitioned to grant an injunction that would stop Simon from taking the oath on February 17, reportedly the date on which the new Parliament is to be convened.
REAL News correspondent George Wehner reports that the Judge first declared that she would be conducting the matter “in chambers.” As a result, she asked for the Court to be cleared of all persons in the gallery who were not a party to the matter.
However, attorneys for both the claimant and the respondent agreed to have members of the public present, with Simon’s counsel insisting that his United Progressive Party colleagues have an interest in the matter.
Ultimately, the Judge agreed and the proceedings went ahead.
Wehner reports that the presiding officer has issued the following directions: That respondent arguments be filed by Friday, February 3, and the petitioner’s response by Monday, February 6.
Skeleton arguments on both applications are to be filed before close of business on February 8, and the hearing of the matter will begin on February 9.
The law firm of Hugh Marshall Jr., brother of the defeated incumbent, Samantha Marshall, filed the initial motion.
The complainant believes that Simon, at the time of his nomination, was not qualified to participate in the elections because he had not yet tendered his resignation with the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The complainant also feels that the PSC did not have sufficient time to consider the resignation ahead of the general elections.