Stubbs Appeal In Doubt
By Candia Dames
29th November 2004
Nearly one week after Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall adjourned the Sidney Stubbs bankruptcy matter, officials of the Progressive Liberal Party say they have still not been able to confirm whether the Holy Cross Member of Parliament has an appeal before the Privy Council.
His attorneys could not say last Tuesday whether there was in fact an appeal and have not yet given an indication that there is one.
While the legal team filed a notice to appeal to the Privy Council in September, it still remains unclear whether it moved ahead with that intent.
A PLP official told the Bahama Journal that the uncertainty surrounding the alleged appeal is creating frustrations for the party, which is seeking to speed up the legal matter.
When he adjourned the case last week, Sir Burton indicated that if there is an appeal before the Privy Council, Mr. Stubbs needs to pursue that before he can ask the Supreme Court to annul the bankruptcy order issued against him in March.
When asked on Sunday whether he has an appeal before the Privy Council, Mr. Stubbs told the Bahama Journal that he does not speak to the press and any statement in this regard would have to come from his attorneys.
Up to last week, attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents Mr. Stubbs’s former creditor, said he had received no notice from the MP’s counsel that an appeal was indeed active.
The hierarchy of the PLP is reportedly concerned that the matter may be dragging on too long and was considering whether to indicate to Mr. Stubbs formally that the party needed to start preparing for the eventuality of a bye-election.
Mr. Stubbs can only hold on to his seat in the House of Assembly as long as he has an appeal outstanding in his bankruptcy matter.
It could be why he and his legal team are for now keeping quiet on whether they actually have an appeal active.
In September, the House of Assembly approved a resolution granting him an additional six months to pursue an appeal.
Last Tuesday, Sir Burton made it clear to the court that there was no appeal presently before him as it relates to Mr. Stubbs’s bankruptcy matter.
The Free National Movement has insisted that the Holy Cross-seat became vacant the moment Supreme Court Justice Jeannie Thompson declared the MP bankrupt in March.
When contacted on Sunday, the FNM’s candidate for Holy Cross Carl Bethel told the Bahama Journal that he wanted to steer clear of making too many public comments at this time on the matter which is still before the courts.
But he reiterated the position of his party as it relates to the latest debacle involving Mr. Stubbs.
“The government really has to decide whether they are going to honour and uphold the constitution or whether they’re going to play politics with it,” said Mr. Bethel, who is also the party’s chairman.
“They know that Sidney Stubbs has no appeal to the Privy Council. His seat is vacant under the constitution and it is really an abuse of the constitution…the fact of the matter is if there is an appeal, the other side ought to have received concrete evidence of such a thing.”