One expelled member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) is taking legal action against his former colleagues for his expulsion from the 25-year old party during last Sunday’s Convention held at Telescope in St. Andrew’s.
Operator of Astral’s Travel, Siddiqui Sylvester, who is a member of the party’s Disciplinary Committee hired the services of local Attorney-at-Law, Cajeton Hood to institute legal proceedings against executive members of the party for his expulsion.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Sylvester disclosed that he had given instructions to Hood “to file legal action on my behalf on the matter of my reported expulsion because it is my considered view that a party which formed the government on the principle of good governance must be made to account for its misdeeds.”
“My only sin for which I have not been given an opportunity to formally defend myself, was to question the direction of the party and the country and to advocate a different way”, he added.
The dismissed NDC executive accused both the party’s Political Leader, Prime Minister, Tillman Thomas and deputy Political Leader, Nazim Burke of engaging in a kind of politics that has a morality of its own.
Sylvester felt that the party of which he has been a member for more than 20 years, subjected itself last weekend to “democracy of the mob”, and turning its back on the core principles of its core founders for there to be due process.
He said that PM Thomas abnegated his leadership role and washed his hands just as Pontius Pilate did against Christ and as a result delegates attending the convention illegally expelled some of the hardest working members of the party.
Despite not being able to disclose what was illegal about his expulsion from the party by delegates, Sylvester told reporters that based on his understanding of the party’s constitution and the role of the Disciplinary Committee of Congress, he was forced to instruct Hood to take legal action against the person or persons “responsible for this travesty of justice” against him.
The expelled member flashed a document to reporters, which claimed that he held “honorary” status on the NDC Executive since 1998.
He insisted that he was no “just come here” member of the party, and that the NDC was the only political party he has been involved with during his lifetime.
Attorney Hood said that a number of clarifications need to be sought on the issue of the expulsion of his client since Sylvester has not yet received any official notice of his expulsion from the group and as such cannot determine at this stage whether the motion to expel was legal or illegal.
However, Hood said he believes that the principles of law must apply in the Sylvester case, such as a right to a hearing, and that the motion to expel must be brought by an organ of the party and not by an individual.
Hood stated it was more than likely that legal proceeding against the executive members of NDC would begin this week.
Sylvester was one of ten persons expelled from Congress on Sunday as delegates voted overwhelming to rid the party of members considered to be engaged in anti-party activities.
The expelled members are former government ministers Peter David (Foreign Affairs), Joseph Gilbert (Communication & Works), Glynis Roberts (Labour), Karl Hood (Foreign Affairs) and Michael Church (Foreign Trade & Energy), as well as former Chairman, Kenrick Fullerton, former Senator, Arley Gill, Labour Representative in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Chester Humphrey and Deputy Chairman, Pastor Stanford Simon.
In defense of the actions taken by the delegates, deputy political leader, Nazim Burke said those in attendance at the convention had every right to end an association with persons whom they could no longer work with.