No definitive word on how ABEC will calculate the countdown to by-election; lawyer says UPP count is strictly constitutional

The United Progressive Party is still seeking clarity on the number of
days remaining before the by-election in St. Mary’s South can be

The Party had indicated, earlier, that it had received information
that ABEC is not counting down on a day-to-day basis, but is
excluding weekends and public holidays.

Reportedly, a member of the Commission had appeared in the media
and said that it was counting from the date that the Speaker of the
House had received former MP Kelvin “Shugy” Simon’s resignation

Simon tendered his resignation from the House of Representatives
on June 7, but the Speaker apparently received it the following day,
June 8.

Symister says that, based on the strict count specified in the
Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, some 46 days have passed
since Simon resigned, leaving 74 days by which the election must be

He says, however, that ABEC seems to want to do its own thing. 

Symister makes reference to the Interpretation Act, which lawyers
consult to assist with the interpretation of legislation. 
He says that even if the Act were to be applied in this instance, only
Sundays and public holidays would be excluded. Hence, clarity is
still being sought since it is the Party’s view that 120 days are what
it should be.

If the drafters of the Constitution wanted to indicate how the 120
days should be calculated, then it would have been stipulated, says
Symister, an attorney-at-law.

This is the case regarding the time in which the Police can arrest and
charge someone and take them before a magistrate – which is 48
hours, excluding Sundays and public holidays.

Hence, if the Constitution made provision for how the hours should
be calculated in that section, then the drafters would have done the
same as it relates to 120 days for a by-election, Symister reasons. 

Therefore, he says, more clarity is being sought, and the discussions
will focus on how the days are counted; but the Party’s calculation is
based on the strict interpretation of the Constitution.