By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Letters have been penned to Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris and Director of Public Prosecutions Mr. Valston Graham by Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Dr. Terrence Drew regarding the matter involving Government Minister the Hon. Lindsay Grant and police officers.
The letter addressed to Prime Minister Harris dated March 09 said “…I write to you, strongly recommending that you exercise your constitutional authority in relieving the Hon. Lindsay Grant of his ministerial appointment until he clears his name of this criminal matter.”
Mr. Grant has been serving in the Cabinet of the Team Unity Administration as Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports since 2015.
The letter further read: “Section 52 (9)(a) states: “The office of any Minister shall become vacant – if the Governor-General acting with the advice of the Prime Minister so directs.” The letter was copied to Leader of the Opposition, the Integrity in Public Life Commission, all civil society organizations, and the media.
This follows Dr. Drew’s one-man protest at the start of the Lindsay Grant matter in front of government headquarters and his participation in the solidarity march organized by social commentator Jeffroy Morrishaw last month in support of the police officers involved in the incident at the Last Lap Bar on January 08, 2022.
Just as Dr. Drew did in his demonstration and some protesters at the solidarity march, people are calling for the Prime Minister to take action and reprimand Minister Grant.
In the letter he penned to the DPP on March 08, 2022, Dr. Drew made mention of the private criminal matter brought by him against Hon. Eugene Hamilton alleging treating and bribery in the June 05 2020 General Election where the DPP took over the case due to it involving a public official.
The DPP in a press conference last year said “Section 65 of the constitution of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis places me as the custodian and guardian of control of criminal prosecutions in this Federation. I consider it to be inconceivable, absolutely nonsensical, that the Director of Public Prosecution must sit back and allow a prosecution that alleges bribery against an elected official to just be pursued in a private capacity.
Section 65 places me with control of criminal prosecution. Sub-section (2) (b) says that I can take over any prosecution issued by any authority and sub-section (c) says I can continue that prosection or I can discontinue that prosecution. Having heard of the matter with Dr. Drew and Mr. Hamilton, I asked the court to stand the matter down so I can be ready and come to make an appearance.
The constitution says I am in control of public criminal prosecution. Do I always intervene? No. because there are some matters that are so trivial, might appear trivial to me, but to the persons who bring them, they might be quite consequential. But there are matters that I do not consider to be sufficiently serious enough that warrant my intervention so a person who assaults another person, I figure that is a one-on-one battle that they can properly dispense in the court but I want you to and I want the viewers and listeners to consider this: how does this in an independent Federation where there is a Director of Public Prosecutions, that an allegation of bribery against an elected official is being played out in the criminal court and the Director Public Prosecutions just sit idly by and say ‘let me see how this play out’. It can’t be! My intervention is to simply ensure that the matter has proper superintendence and proper disposition. Nothing more.”
Dr. Drew in his letter said, “the position advanced by you then and that advanced by you in this current matter is totally contradictory; and confusing at best.”
The letter recommends that a minimum standard of prosecution, the case be led by a Crown Council; that a special prosecutor be employed to prosecute the case. Such a prosecutor should not have been previously involved in any matter of a political nature in the Federation; and that a sitting magistrate from another OECS member state, which functions in the same legal jurisdiction be brought in to hear the case.
The letter to the DPP was copied to the Attorney General, the Leader of the Opposition, and the media.