Former President of the Grenada Bar Association, and prominent criminal attorney Anselm Clouden said last week Friday that he would like to see the necessary disciplinary actions taken against Dominican Attorney-at-Law Cabral Douglas for what he described as “distasteful and derogatory” statements made against President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir. Dennis Byron on a Dominican radio programme earlier this month.
In an article obtained by THE NEW TODAY that was published on April 14, Douglas called the integrity of the CCJ into question due to what he described as “several irregularities arising from the most absurd decision in the Tommy Lee Sparta matter, where the court ruled the private entity who contracted to receive entertainment services from the Jamaican firm in a sector approved by the heads of government, has no standing at the CCJ to bring a lawsuit against Dominica.”
According to Attorney Douglas, without just cause, the Government of Dominica decided to deny entry, arrest, detain and deport Tommy Lee and his Jamaican entourage, causing the cancellation of the concert the Applicant was hosting at his privately owned entertainment venue in Portsmouth, Dominica.
The Dominican Attorney took issue with the fact that Sir. Dennis met with the defendant in the case, while it was pending in the court. He held the view that “what made the matter worse was that Sir. Dennis announced that the court would be ruling in favour of the Defendant on the most dubious grounds on the very same morning of the meeting.”
He added: “What you are seeing is the appearance of corruption at the highest level, which brings the CCJ as a court into disrepute and has absolutely nothing to do with sour grapes on the part of the Applicant as suggested by Emile Ferdinand QC, in defense of Sir. Dennis.”
Standing in solidarity with Sir Dennis, an irate attorney Clouden called on the Attorney General of Dominica, Levi Peter, who he said would have received his communiqué by the time of the press conference last week Friday, to take the necessary steps to ensure that some disciplinary action is taken against Mr. Douglas for the remarks he has made or purported to have made.”
He said: “I have already communicated with the attorney general of Dominica regarding corruption allegations leveled against Sir Dennis Byron and his colleagues at the CCJ by Mr. Douglas…This man has sought to scandalise the CCJ and to bring into disrepute the leading jurist in the Caribbean, Sir Dennis Byron, an honourable and distinguished jurist, a Caribbean man, who has gained international reputation and is a former Chief Justice of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
He described Mr Douglas statements as being “scandalous, malicious and all together distasteful. It’s despicable and I am seeking as a former president of the Grenada Bar and a senior lawyer, a criminal defense attorney and a human rights practitioner, I am calling on the Attorney General of Dominica and the president of the OECS Bar Ruggles Ferguson to begin a process whereby Mr. Douglas could be disciplined by an effective disciplinary committee set up by not only by the Bar of Dominica but by the OECS Bar to conduct a thorough investigation and a disciplinary hearing.
“He must be made to answer, the consequences must be dire, all lawyers should show their abhorrence and repugnance for the statements as made by Mr. Douglas in so far as it includes the integrity of this distinguished and honourable jurist of high esteem in the Caribbean now president of the CCJ Sir. Dennis Byron,” Attorney Clouden said noting that the CCJ is the final appellate court for the Commonwealth of Dominica and so it is not only gross insubordination but total disrespect of Mr Douglas to have involved this decent and honourable gentleman, our most celebrated jurist of the Caribbean in such a malicious and contemptuous manner.”
Additionally, the prominent criminal attorney is of the opinion that the CCJ Bill that was rejected by the voting populace in the November 2016 referendum poll should be reintroduced for reconsideration on the ballot paper in the upcoming general elections projected by political analyst to be called sometime between the end of May and June.
Clouden, who publicly supported the Bill proposing Grenada’s delinking from the British Privy Council to the CCJ, told reporters that its reintroduction should be done in the best interest of the country.
“The National Democratic Congress and the ruling New National Party should engage in discussions in the interest of the country…and we must put Grenada first and to put Grenada first it means that we have to utilise the court in its appellate jurisdiction and it is my respectful view and consideration that that proposition be put on the ballot in the upcoming general elections,” Attorney Clouden said.
The CCJ Bill was one of seven bills that were rejected in the country’s first referendum poll, on November 24, 2016.
The seasoned attorney expressed the view that putting the CCJ proposition on the ballot paper will give the voting populace another opportunity to express their will.
“We don’t have to go to a referendum if the people express their will through the ballot paper, he said.