TEAM Karen, led by PNM political leader contender Karen Nunez-Tesheira, has appealed a judge’s refusal to grant an injunction to postpone the party’s internal elections – which begin this weekend – until her lawsuit over the changes to the electoral process is determined.
The emergency appeal will be heard at 6 pm on Friday.
On Wednesday, Justice Devindra Rampersad dismissed the injunction application of Nunez-Tesheira and two members of her slate.
He said he was not minded to grant the interim relief sought, as the greater risk of prejudice in doing so lay with the party.
Rampersad also held the application was devoid of evidence, saying an election should not be stopped or altered on the basis “only (of) fears without cogent evidence.”
He said if the complaints of an unfair election raised by Nunez-Tesheira and her team materalise, they can challenge the outcome of the process.
“.The claimants may have other recourse should the process be found, in fact, to be tainted. Even though it is a more onerous task to correct an election after the fact, evidence of actual illegality and unfairness would be grounds to set it aside,” the judge said.
Although he dismissed the application for the injunction, the judge held, however, that he was not able, at this stage, to come to a definitive finding on how to interpret article 18.1 of the PNM’s constitution.
In their breach of contract lawsuit, Nunez-Tesheira, Dr Kenneth Butcher, who is vying for the post of chairman, and Bishop Victor Phillip, who is contesting the post of election officer, are claiming the party's central executive breached the party's constitution by deciding the elections should take place on three days over a nine-day period – November 26, 27, and December 4 – instead of one. Their lawsuit said the party’s central executive does not have the power to make this decision.
They also raised concerns about the security of the ballot boxes. The PNM’s election committee chairman Anthony Roberts, in his evidence, said on the days of the election the police would secured and transport the ballot boxes to a “secure secret location” and independent auditing firm Pannell Kerr Forster will secure them.