Skerrit’s attempt to discredit the Opposition
OPINION By Wendel James
August 8, 2017 6:28 A.M
Roseau, Dominica (TDN)
Roosevelt Skerrit in a last desperate bid to save face from outrageous charges of coup attempts against the Dominica Opposition has ordered his Police minions to issue summons for the leader of the UWP Lennox Linton, former Deputy Leader Joshua Francis and PRO Superintendent Nicholas George to appear in court in September.
This alone is outrageous but what’s even worse is the charges on which they have been asked to appear. The summons reads in part: “ Complaint has been made by Inspector Theophille G of CDPF for that you on the 7th day of February 2017 at Roseau did by refusing upon instructions of members of the CDPF to conclude the public meeting …at the agreed time of 3:00 P.M willfully obstructed Police officers in the execution of their duty.”
These summons are a gross abuse of due process and threatens Dominica’s judicial system.
It boggles the mind that a Magistrate whom we assume is a lawyer with some knowledge of the Constitution would sign such ridiculous documents. One cannot help but wonder what magistrate Asquith Riviere was doing in Antigua before he was offered a job to work as a magistrate in Dominica.
Surely Riviere must know that you do not require permission for the holding of a public meeting and therefore cannot violate any law if you decide to hold such a meeting. Further he must know that the Police cannot order you to end a peaceful public meeting where there is no violence and where there is no destruction to life or property.
In order words this order by the Police is similar to an officer ordering me not to walk down on Kennedy Avenue at a certain time even if there is no threat or other hindrance to law and public safety. The last I checked we live in a democracy in Dominica and we will die if need be defending that democracy.
Under Dominica’s Constitution, political parties or individuals wishing to hold public meetings do not require any Police permission. The only stipulation is that this meeting must end before 11 P.M in order to observe the Noise Abatement Act.
The fact that the UWP signed an agreement with the Police for the holding of the February 7 meeting is meaningless. It is routine for persons holding public meetings to let the Police know in order that they can provide traffic assistance if required.
SO how could the police demand that a public meeting end eight hours before the law requires and turn around and charge you for holding your meeting.
The law is clear and any attempt by Skerrit or Police Chief Carbon or Magistrate Riviere to usurp the law of the land must be frowned upon and treated with the highest degree of contempt and ridicule.
In my mind this is a clear indication that Skerrit has lost his moral authority to govern. His many attempts to sully the reputation of the upstanding members of the opposition by having armed police goons, descend on their homes in the wee hours of the morning to arrest them speaks volumes.
The misguided psychology is simple. Make them appear or look like criminals and the public will shy away from voting them into office. Indeed, this simply cannot work. The Court hearings will turn into mass public protest as the loyal opposition rallies around its leaders.
Clearly Skerrit is not satisfied with what almost transpired on February 7, 2017 when certain business places in Roseau came under attack, and is stoking the fire of discontent and public outrage hoping for some excuse to clamp down further on the opposition.
While we will allow the Dominican voter to deal appropriately with Skerrit’s behavior I would ask the EC High Court to take a look at the behavior of the magistrate and to determine whether this individual is fit for enforcing the laws of the country.