Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 12th 2015 Contents A9
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Ray Holman, left,
turned out for the
funeral of musician
"Raf" Robertson at
A High Court Judge has urged attorneys for
the country s two main political parties to work
together to expedite the hearing of six election
petitions challenging the result of the September
7 general election.
Justice Mira Dean-Armorer made the plea yes-
terday during the first hearing of the petitions
since the Court of Appeal, in a majority ruling,
threw out an appeal from the People s National
Movement (PNM) and the Elections and Bound-
aries Commission (EBC) challenging Dean-Armor-
er s decision to grant the United National Congress
(UNC) permission to pursue the petitions.
"I hope that everyone would work together and
focus on what is important---peace and order in
our country," Dean-Armorer said, as she noted
that the petitions should be dealt with expedi-
tiously since they would affect the stability of the
"This is a matter of national importance and
everyone in this court will have to clear their
schedules to deal with it," Dean-Armorer said.
During yesterday s hearing, Dean-Armorer set
timelines for each party to file their evidence and
written submissions for the petitions, with three
days between June 27 and 30 being set aside for
Dean-Armorer stated that she did not think
that the oral hearings in June should take much
time as she would not be allowing the parties to
cross-examine each others witnesses.
Each petition will be heard separately as evidence
from voters from each of the six marginal con-
stituencies being challenged is likely to be different.
As the EBC and the two parties prepare their
witness statements over the next three months,
the High Court Registry is also expected to issue
notices calling on members of the public in the
affected constituencies who may wish to testify
as independent witnesses to come forward.
Central to the UNC s petition is its claim that
EBC returning officers acted illegally when they
followed the EBC s directive to extend the poll in
Trinidad by one hour due to heavy rainfall.
The party will now have to bring evidence to
prove that its defeat in the constituencies was
marginally affected by the EBC s decision to extend
the polling hours.
The constituencies being challenged are
Toco/Sangre Grande, Tunapuna, St Joseph, San
Fernando West, Moruga/Tableland and La Hor-
The PNM on Thursday filed an application to
have the petition for La Horquetta/Talparo imme-
diately struck out due to an apparent procedural
error made when it was filed shortly after the
election. Attorneys for the UNC and PNM were
yesterday also given instructions to file submissions
on the issue.
A hearing to determine the matter will be held
on March 3.
June 2016 hearing for election petitions
Justice Mira Dean-Armorer
Besides the petitions, Dean-Armorer
has also been assigned two cases in
which three private citizens are
challenging the EBC's decision. Social
activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj has filed
a judicial review seeking the court's
clarification on whether the EBC had
the constitutional power to make the
decision, while Irwin Lyne and Melissa
Sylvan are claiming that the EBC
breached the constitutional rights of
Tobagonians by not allowing them an
extension. Both cases have been
deferred as they would be directly
affected by the outcome of Dean-
Armorer's decision on the petitions.
The UNC is being represented by
Timothy Straker, QC, Anand Ramlogan,
SC, Gerald Ramdeen, Wayne Sturge
and Kent Samlal. The PNM's legal
team is being led Senior Counsel
Douglas Mendes and John Jeremie
and includes Michael Quamina, Kerwyn
Garcia, Terrence Bharath and Celeste
Jules. Senior Counsel Russell
Martineau and Deborah Peake are
leading the EBC's legal team.
A pre-trial review of the petitions, in
preparation for the oral hearings, will
take place on April 28.
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