Premier Rufus Ewing (C) surrounded by PNP supporters on Friday night
In a victory speech delivered at the Progressive National Party (PNP) headquarters on Friday night outlining the history of that day’s by-election and related legal challenges, Premier Rufus Ewing told a crowd of supporters, “We in the PNP do not have to bring anyone from overseas to defend our case.”
Ewing was apparently referring to Allan Wood QC, in ignorance of the fact that Wood, although practicing in Jamaica is a TC Islander and, if he chose to do so, could vote here once he registers.
Wood, who has acted for the Jamaican government, is highly respected regionally and appeared on behalf of the opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) in some of the recent election challenges.
Ewing went on to praise local lawyers, claiming that the PNP lawyers were available to help PNP supporters.
“If you have a problem, we in the PNP can fix it,” he said.
Ewing claimed that the PDM cannot beat the PNP because they have their campaign machinery well oiled and are using “science” to defeat any opponent. Third party Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) candidates were also attacked by members of the PNP platform, but their attacks were mainly focused on the opposition.
“PDM is dead, PDM is dead, PDM is dead”, shouted campaign manager Devon Williams in Creole.
PNP candidate Amanda Misick was returned to parliament on Friday following hard fought legal battles in court between Wood and Ariel Misick QC, representing the PNP.
Ariel Misick lost the first petition when Amanda Misick’s seat was vacated by the court but rescued Ewing and the PNP when he argued successfully that the relevant Integrity Commission notices were still in effect from the general election.
Many political observers here suspect that the cases filed by acting attorney general Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles against four PDM sitting members of the House of Assembly were designed to aid the PNP’s efforts to hold on to government if the court awarded PDM candidate Oral Selver the seat.
However, after the successful defence of Amanda Misick’s case, Braithwaite Knowles abruptly attempted to withdraw the cases against the other named respondents, a move deemed suspicious by PDM supporters. The chief justice declined to go along with Braithwaite Knowles’ attempted withdrawal of her applications and a directions hearing is scheduled for April 9 in that matter.
The following day, April 10, twelve people, including former ministers in the previous PNP government, will stand trial on various counts of fraud and money laundering.