Last week, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin granted the PUP an injunction thereby postponing the ICJ referendum. CJ Benjamin based his ruling based on the request from the Prime Minister to grant writs of referendum which were not in compliance with the Referendum Act. Following that blow, Prime Minister Dean Barrow held a press conference and said that the battle was lost, but not the war. Today the PUP and the Government attorneys and legal warriors went before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal to litigate the issue on all fronts. A case management conference was to be held at nine this morning at the Supreme Court on the substantial challenge to the Referendum. But another battle was lost, as the Chief Justice decided he preferred to wait for the outcome of the court appeal case where the government hoped to have the injunction against the referendum, lifted. Love news spoke to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte about the CJ’s decision to stave off the substantive matter until Monday, April 15th.
Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte: The CJ decided to adjourn until the Court of Appeal hears what is going to happen today and then based on that the Supreme Court will resume. Remember that all that is going to happen here this morning is that the Government is going to attempt to get the Court of Appeal to hear the expedited appeal and if the Court of Appeal agrees to hear it then the Court of Appeal hears the merits of the appeal for the injunction so that is all that is going to be happening here today but the Chief Justice remember has the substantive matter still before him so he put that off until the Court of Appeal can make a determination as to what will happen with the injunction and essentially whether or not we will have the referendum on April 10th.
Jose Sanchez: “Now let’s just say the Court of Appeals rules in the Government’s favor. Do you then go to the Chief Justice and hope to continue your case tomorrow on Tuesday?”
Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte: “No the substantive case will not happen right now and even if it won’t happen right now it certainly won’t be adjudicated upon right now. If the Court of Appeal reverses the injunction ruling of the Chief Justice then the referendum occurs on April 10th. If the Court of Appeal refuses to hear us or if the Court of Appeal decides to hear us and then agrees with the Chief Justice then it means that there is no referendum April 10th. I mean it is going to be very difficult unless of course we reserve our right to appeal to the CCJ but it will be very tough at this point. If we are rejected by the Court of Appeal for one of the two reasons that are before them today then it is going to be very tough. It is going to be an even steeper climb to get the referendum April 10th however we are going for a referendum on April 10th, that is our hope.”