Today, January 10, 2019, High Court in St. Kitts, His Lordship Mr. Justice Trevor Ward QC heard the long-awaited case on the dubious charges brought by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris against the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas regarding his possession of a Dominican passport. Last August, in a different case involving this same matter, Justice Ward ruled in favour of Dr. Douglas against Curtis ‘Big Chief’ Mills of Newton Ground who claimed that Dr. Douglas could not represent him in Parliament by virtue of his (Douglas’) possession of a diplomatic passport. In Mills’ case, the judge threw out the case ordering him to pay legal fees to Dr. Douglas’ lawyers.
At today’s hearing, Justice Ward QC heard evidence from experts provided by both the claimant’s and the defendant’s sides in order to make his judgment as to whether the possession of a Diplomatic Passport from Dominica necessarily grants citizenship to the holder. Interestingly, the experts agreed on the essential point that a diplomatic passport does not grant citizenship.
Lawyers for Dr. Douglas argued that a diplomatic passport was provided to Dr. Douglas as a matter of professional courtesy. Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan shared with the court that the government of Dominica issued a written statement to confirm that Dr. Douglas did not at any time apply for Citizenship of Dominica. Dr. Douglas maintained that he has never applied for citizenship of Dominica or of any other country, and that he has always supplied ‘St. Kitts and Nevis’ as the country of his citizenship.
Lawyers for Dr. Douglas further emphasised that Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit was astounded that the former Prime Minister could have been so deeply disrespected by Dr. Harris who has refused to grant a diplomatic passport to Dr. Douglas.
The court sitting which started at around 930a.m. wrapped up before noon. Justice Ward ordered that final submissions from both sides be submitted by January 25th and February 4th, and gave indication that his judgment would be handed down some time shortly thereafter. It does seem therefore that the public can expect judgment in this matter before there end of February 2019.
Counsel for Dr. Douglas, the defendant, were Anthony Astaphan SC, Delano Bart QC, Sylvester Anthony and Angelina Sookoo-Bobb. The legal team for the other side comprised Douglas Mendes, Attorney General Vincent Byron, his niece Talibah Byron, and others.