Shahine faces huge bill
The People's National Party (PNP) is to make a decision early next week as to whether it will contest a by-election in North East St Ann - if one is called.
The Supreme Court declared the seat vacant yesterday and has made a certification to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Shahine Robinson won the seat by 2,022 votes for the Jamaica Labour Party over PNP's Oswest Senior-Smith in the 2007 general election.
Supreme Court judge Roy Jones has granted the claimant, Manley Bowen, leave to appeal against his refusal to hear legal arguments and grant a declaration that the seat be given to Senior-Smith.
Bowen's lawyers, Abe Dabdoub and Raymond Clough, filed the appeal in the Court of Appeal yesterday, and have served the documents on Parliament and one of Robinson's lawyers, Ernest Smith.
Justice Jones has also granted Bowen's application for costs, to be assessed on an indemnity basis. The judge ordered that Robinson pay all of Bowen's costs, and taxation will be done by the registrar of the Supreme Court.
When Justice Jones struck out Robinson's defence last month after she filed her notice of intention not to oppose the petition, the judge had said her defence was an abuse of the process of the court.
Indemnity costs are usually awarded in cases where the court finds that a litigant has abused the process of the court or has not come to court with clean hands.
Bowen, an elector, had filed an election petition contending that Robinson had dual citizenship and was not entitled to sit in Parliament. He said Robinson was an American citizen when she was nominated for the September 3, 2007, general election.
Deputy General Secretary of the PNP, Julian Robinson, told The Gleaner that the matter was slated to be discussed at next Monday's meeting of the executive.
"The party has not made a final decision. After next week's executive meeting, we will be in a position to say," said Robinson.
But some insiders maintained the party would not be contesting the seat.
"We are mobilising people and resources for a general election. The Government is ready to crumble. Why should we waste resources on a by-election?" an influential party member said.
The next general election is due in 2012.
Robinson has signalled that she is ready to go on the political hustings to retain the seat she lost in the court.
It was in a 2001 by-election that Robinson first secured a foothold in the North East St Ann seat. She retained the seat in the 2002 and 2007 general elections.