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(iWitness News) Dominican senior counsel, Anthony Astaphan, will be replaced as lead counsel for the government in the petitions matter in which the government has already suffered two stinging defeats.

Astaphan made the announcement on radio on Friday but denied that he was fired.

“… I told my clients … that I could not be of assistance because the fact is, … from September to February, I was on medical leave and I have had a tremendous backlog, especially in Dominica and elsewhere and I cannot go back to the court again and ask for an adjournment and in addition to that, I have some personal matters I have to deal with that makes it impossible for me to come to St. Vincent right now,” he said hours after the high court ruled in favour of the NDP in a number of preliminary matters.

“So, before people start calling and asking whether I have been fired, I have not been fired. I am still on the cases, but I recommended someone to assist my comrades and brothers there, because I could not give them the attention that they and the case deserve,” Astaphan said.

On Friday, High Court judge, Justice Esco Henry, ruled that while the sureties given in support of the two petitions the opposition New Democratic Party has filed challenging the results of the December 2015 general elections are insufficient, they are valid.

She gave each petitioner until July 7 to deposit EC$5,000 with the High Court so that the case can proceed, or have the petitions dismissed.

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