Saturday, April 20, 2024

CCJ defends integrity of its President

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PORT OF SPAIN – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) says “appropriate actions are being taken” to protect the integrity of the President of the Court, Sir Dennis Byron, amid allegations that a criminal complaint has been filed against him and a prominent Grenadian jurist.

In a brief statement, the CCJ made reference to the “recent attack in the media” on the reputation of Sir Dennis “by a dissatisfied litigant”.

While the statement gave no details of the “recent attacks in the media” a story carried by a US-based regional online publication claimed that the criminal complaint had been filed by Dominican attorney Cabral Douglas.

The publication quotes Douglas as saying that in filing the criminal complaint against the two prominent Caribbean jurists he stands ready to assist the police with a criminal prosecution in an effort to “root out the cesspool of corruption that has engulfed the highest judicial institution in the Caribbean”.

In the statement, the CCJ said that Sir Dennis has been “advised by his advisors that it would not be appropriate at this time to respond publicly in his personal capacity in any detail to the allegations made against him and disseminated in the public arena.

“However, the President wishes it to be known that every single allegation or wrongdoing or improper conduct attributed to him by the litigant in his continuing campaign to denigrate the Court is false,” the statement said, adding “appropriate actions are being taken to protect the integrity of the President and the Court”.

Douglas has been critical of the CCJ, after claiming that the island’s highest court had “squandered a tremendous opportunity to build its credibility as an international court” when it dismissed an application he filed accusing the Dominica government of causing a breach of contract with the Jamaican entertainer Tommy Lee Sparta.

The matter was the first filed in 2015, when Dominica became a full member of the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council.

Douglas had alleged that the action of the Roosevelt Skerrit government had also caused multiple violations of his rights under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) but the CCJ ruled that Douglas had failed to prove a breach of treaty rights which were intended to benefit him directly.

The Dominica government said its action was based in the interest of public safety as several organisations, including the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches, had denounced the artiste’s appearance saying his music glorifies Satan and promotes lawlessness and violence.

But Douglas, the promoter of the Dominica show, said the stance taken by the government was illegal and he was demanding more than three million US dollars in compensation. (CMC)

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