Caribbean News Now – Cabral Douglas, the son of former prime minister of Dominica, Rosie Douglas, is to file a lawsuit in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the island’s government over the forced cancellation of a 2014 concert by Jamaican recording artiste Tommy Lee following Lee’s arrest and deportation.
According to Douglas, as a direct consequence of the illegal arrest, detention and deportation of international recording artiste and skilled Caribbean Community (CARICOM) national Leroy Russell (aka Tommy Lee), top Jamaican music industry executive Junior “Heavy D” Fraser and other members of his party on 23/24 February 2014, by the government of Dominica, the concert organized, promoted and financed by Douglas, in reliance of relevant free movement provisions outlined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) was cancelled.
“Just because Dominica is one of the smaller countries in CARICOM does not excuse the small mindedness demonstrated by the leadership of that country… if anyone can be accused of practicing evil, it’s certainly not Tommy Lee but rather the leadership of Dominica as evidenced by the barbaric, vindictive and inhumane treatment of innocent skilled CARICOM nationals contracted to work in Dominica,” Douglas said.
The cancellation of the international stage show has given rise various monetary damages claims by Douglas, in addition to the damages claims made on behalf of the Jamaican claimants, which have been channelled through the Jamaican office of the attorney general for various breaches under the RTC.
“How can Dominica hypocritically advocate for free movement it its capacity as chair of CARICOM on the one hand, whilst arbitrarily detaining, deporting and humiliating skilled CARICOM nationals contracted to work in Dominica on the other?” Douglas questioned.
“This is an affront to the spirit of regional integration,” he added.
As previuously reported in the regional media, the government of Dominica on May 3, 2015, publically announced its desire for an “amicable” negotiated settlement to these claims.
Subsequent to this announcement, Douglas’ legal team led by Jamaica’s Bert Samuels was invited by the office of the attorney general to submit proof of claims as required by the negotiation process which had been ongoing.
However, after spending significant time preparing, substantiating and submitting these claims, it now appears that the government of Dominica has unilaterally reneged on its commitment to have the matter settled out of court.
“I think the refusal of the Skerrit administration to honour its treaty obligations as it pertains to the free movement of skilled community nationals not only poses a grave danger to the economic interests of Dominican individuals and corporate entities seeking to contract with skilled CARICOM nationals but it also undermines the credibility of CARICOM itself, and Dominica’s position as chair responsible for the implementation of free movement within its quasi-cabinet,” Douglas said.
“I suspect that Roosevelt Skerrit, a man that has already declared to Dominicans locally that no law/no constitution can stop him…is now promoting the same lawlessness within CARICOM. If his objective is to isolate Dominica as a backward police state with no regard for human rights, free movement and free enterprise then he should be man enough withdraw from CARICOM, suspend the constitution and declare martial law in Dominica,” he said.
Douglas has retained a Trinidad based senior counsel to lead the litigation phase of this matter.
“As long as the rule of law still exists within CARICOM, I will be seeking special leave to appear before the CCJ to enforce my rights and the rights of CARICOM nationals under relevant provisions of the (RTC) as I remain committed to the principles of regional integration, human rights and free enterprise which are the foundations of economic development in Dominica and the Caribbean region, as intended by the framers of the RTC,” Douglas said.