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Posted: Wednesday 12 September, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Bernadette Lawrence could face contempt of court proceedings if...

Bernadette Lawrence
By: Terresa McCall,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – FAILURE on the part of Registration Officer Bernadette Lawrence to fully carry out the terms of a court order might result in her having to face Contempt of Court proceedings.
    In early August 2012, Deputy Leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) Mark Brantley informed this publication that Lawrence was ordered by a court of law to provide results in objection hearings which stemmed from objections made in March and April 2012.
    The objections – this publication understands – were made by Oscar Browne on behalf of the CCM.
    Justice John Benjamin had ordered that the results of the hearings be turned over to the objector within a specified time and, while some of the results were provided, Browne’s counsel, Perry Joseph, informed SKNVibes that the list of results was incomplete.
    “They produced a list on the 13th (August, 2012) but it was incomplete. Our client advised us that   a large number of names were missing and provided us with a list of the omitted names. We wrote a letter to the Solicitor General, who represented the Respondents at the first hearing of the matter, and indicated that the list was incomplete and that his clients had not complied with the Order of the Court. We also provided a list of the omitted names. We were informed that the Registration Officer had not completed all the matters that she had heard and was only able to provide the decisions in those matters that she had concluded.
    “We responded and stated that that Order of the Court was to produce a complete list of all the objections made by our client. We did not receive a response. The deadline of the 15th August passed and we didn’t get the complete list, so we filed Contempt of Court proceedings. Basically, we are going to go back to Court to inform the court that they have breached the order …”
    Joseph however explained that the first order of business is to approach the court to amend the original order so that it includes a penal clause which would spell out the punishment to be applied in case of a breach.
    “And once the court grants that…the next step is to go to full Contempt Proceedings.”
    His suggestion is that Lawrence may still have time to produce the remaining results but, in the absence of that, he would be asking – on behalf his client – that Lawrence be committed to prison.
    During the past year and a half Lawrence’s name has been at the heart of allegations of electoral misconduct and manipulation of the electoral system where the CCM claimed that she acted with bias for the benefit of the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP).
    And, more recently, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court held that with regard to the events leading up to and during the July 2011 Local Elections, she acted with bias and bad faith with a view to skewing the election results in favour of the party which she represents.


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