Chairman of the People's National Party (PNP), Robert Pickersgill, says his party is still conducting investigations to unearth "conclusive evidence" of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidates who have allegedly sworn allegiance to a foreign power, a move that would disqualify them from becoming members of the House of Representatives.
In a Gleaner interview yesterday, Mr. Pickersgill said his party has gathered credible information about JLP candidates who have sworn allegiance to a foreign power, but added that it was seeking to obtain irrefutable evidence, before proceeding to court.
Mr. Pickersgill, in a statement on August 17, noted that the PNP had received information that in certain specific constituencies the candidates nominated by the JLP were not qualified to be nominated by virtue of section 41 (2) of the Jamaican Constitution.
The Constitution states: "No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a senator or elected as a member of the House of Represen-tatives who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state."
All properly nominated
Director of Elections Danville Walker had said that all 146 candidates in the upcoming general election were properly nominated.
General secretary of the PNP, Donald Buchanan, told The Gleaner that only one candidate of the PNP had sworn allegiance to a foreign power but that person nullified that arrangement prior to Nomination Day, Tuesday, August 7.
Unfazed by the PNP's investi-gation and threat of court actionagainst its candidates, Karl Samuda, general Secretary of the JLP, said he had no knowledge of any of his party's candidates who had sworn allegiance to another country.
"Anyone wishing to challenge a candidate's legitimacy may be free to do so and there is a process that is involved," he said yesterday in an interview.
In what is expected to be a close election, the legitimacy of a candidate and whether he/she would be qualified to take a seat in Gordon House could become a deciding factor in who holds the reins of government after the election.
What the law says:
Section 41 (2) of the Constitution: No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a senator or elected as a member of the House of Representatives who "is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign Power or State."
If election officials fail to ensure that the nominated candidate is "qualified to be a member of the House of Representatives," the issue may be taken to Court as a Constitutional motion or as an election petition.
The effect of challenging the nomination in the Supreme Court or Constitutional Court before the election, if successful, would be to render the nomination unconstitutional and void and thereafter, the next candidate would by default win the election.
If challenged in the Election Court successfully after the election, "the poll shall be retaken on such day within a period of twenty-eight days from the date of the declaration".
If dual citizenship were to be renounced after nomination, it would still mean that the candidate would, at the time of nomination, not have been qualified to be a member of the House and therefore that person's nomination would not have been legal.