The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) (on Sunday) ordered that Saint Lucian, Professor Eddy Ventose, is to be added to the register of voters in Barbados.
The Court declared that it was satisfied that the legal and regulatory conditions for his registration have been met. The Court then ordered the Chief Electoral Officer, who participated in the hearing, to ensure that Professor Ventose is registered before 12 noon on Monday, 14 May, 2018. If this is not done, the CCJ President, the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron, warned that she may face contempt of court proceedings, which could result in imprisonment and/or fines.
Professor Ventose had stated that he was qualified and entitled to be registered to vote but his registration was consistently refused. The Court of Appeal in Barbados had, on Tuesday, 8 May 2018 ruled that Professor Ventose was qualified to be registered to vote but stopped short of compelling the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to enroll him on the register of voters. The CEO was given 24 hours to make a determination on his application. When the CEO failed to register him, Professor Ventose asked the CCJ to declare that he was entitled to be registered to vote and to order the CEO to enter his name on the final voters’ list ahead of its publication this week.
The order of the Court was read by the CCJ President, Sir Dennis Byron, on Sunday afternoon, after the panel of judges had withdrawn to deliberate on the matter.
The CCJ President expressed the view that the Court’s decision should also resolve the matter for other Commonwealth citizens, resident in Barbados for the relevant qualifying period, who are also claiming a right to be registered as voters under the Barbados laws.
Costs for the CCJ proceedings, and the hearings in the courts below, were awarded to Professor Ventose. The appeal was determined by the President of the CCJ and the Honourable Messrs. Justices Saunders, Hayton, Anderson and Barrow. Professor Eddy Ventose was represented by Mr. Elliot Mottley QC, Mr. Leslie F. Haynes QC, Ms. Faye F Finisterre, Ms. Kashkha Mottley and Mr. Nicholas Jackman, while the Chief Electoral Officer was represented by Ms. Jennifer Edwards QC, Solicitor General.
The Court will provide the full reasons for its decision on the CCJ’s website later this week. (Caribbean Court of Justice Press Release)
The CCJ was inaugurated on 16 April, 2005 in Trinidad and Tobago where it is headquartered. Its central role is providing legal certainty to the operations of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It is structured to have two jurisdictions – an original and an appellate. In its original jurisdiction it ensures uniform interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, thereby underpinning and advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As the final court of appeal for Member States of the Caribbean Community it fosters the development of an indigenous Caribbean jurisprudence