Stern ousted from Ja parliament

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Member of Parliament for North West Clarendon, Michael Stern, has been ousted from Parliament as a result of his status as a dual citizenship when he took the seat in the 2007 general election.

Stern became the third Jamaica Labour Party MP to be removed from his seat by the courts since that election.

Supreme Court Judge Lloyd Hibbert granted the order after hearing submissions from attorney-at-law Abe Dabdoub. He is representing the People’s National Party’s Richard Azan, who lost the seat to Stern.

Hibbert is expected to make a ruling this week as to whether the seat should go to Azan or if there is to be a by-election in the constituency.

Dabdoub is arguing that under Section 23 of the Representation of the People Act, the seat should go to Azan because he was the only duly nominated candidate on nomination day.

He said that in the dual-citizenship case he brought against MPDaryl Vaz, Section 23 of the act was not argued or ruled on by the courts.

“No real thought was given to this in the Court of Appeal judgment,” he added.

Submitting further, Dabdoub pointed out that Section 23 clearly indicated that the seat should be awarded to the duly nominated candidate. He said the law did not authorise the returning officer to hold a poll when the nomination of one of the two candidates was invalid.

He submitted that the poll held in the constituency was a nullity because only one of the two candidates was duly elected.

Attorney-at-law Kirk Anderson, who is representing Stern, will respond to Dabdoub’s submissions.

Azan had filed the petition contending that because Stern was a United States citizen, he had pledged allegiance to a foreign power and, therefore, was not entitled under the Constitution to be an MP.

When the hearing began Monday in the Election Court, Dabdoub insisted that the judge should make a ruling as to whether Stern was duly elected. Dabdoub pointed out that Parliament was sitting Tuesday and there were penalties for MPs who sit in Parliament when they were disqualified.

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