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Dougan – It’s time to end this stalemate

Dougan – It’s time to end this stalemate

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Former Attorney General Carlyle Dougan says the time is right for some form of rapprochement to be reached between the Government and the Opposition.{{more}}

“We just cannot allow this stalemate to continue. So I call on the Prime Minister as Leader of this country to make immediate contact by writing to him or calling him by the telephone with Mr. Eustace the Honourable Leader of the Opposition so that two of them, both of them, can meet face to face and discuss this matter,” said Dougan.

The lawyer’s appeal comes in the wake of the Government’s refusal to accede to requests by the Opposition to repeal the recent amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code of St.Vincent and the Grenadines and withdraw the proposed amendment to the Representation of the People Act.

Dougan joined demonstrators from the New Democratic Party West Kingstown Constituency Council on Tuesday, March 15, outside the Main Administrative Building, which houses the offices of the Prime Minister, to protest what they claim to be the mistreatment of their Area Representative Daniel Cummings at the hands of the police.

Cummings was taken to Trinidad and Tobago for medical treatment following his forced removal from the House of Assembly on Thursday, March 3.

Dougan said the police cannot be allowed to act as they did that day, when they also used force to remove other members of the Opposition who had failed to obey the Speaker’s orders.

“Here we have a respectable member of the Opposition, who was struck down brutally by the police. When I got on the scene, I saw the alleged perpetrators laughing.

“It was a sadistic exercise in the brutality that they exercised on these people. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves as Vincentians,” said Dougan.

Dougan also called on Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to launch an inquiry into what transpired at the House of Assembly during the last demonstration staged by the NDP.

“And most of all, if the persons who did these acts could be identified, then those persons must be suspended forthwith by the Police Service Commission and that the Commissioner of Police, if they are constables, he has certain powers that he could exercise,” said Dougan.

Dougan charged that from his assessment, there are a group of men surrounding the Prime Minister who could well develop into a “Mongoose Gang”.

“We don’t need this, the Prime Minister himself doesn’t need this, but I see the relishment with which they are doing these wrongs to us Vincentians,” said Dougan.

He said to an extent he is sympathetic to Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hendrick Alexander, because he would not have foreseen the ultimate result of the order that he gave.

Dougan said even so, Alexander may have to account for the consequences of his action.

“And seeing that it happened outside the Parliament, he, Alexander, cannot rely on the provisions of the Parliamentary Priviledges, immunities, and power ordinances,” said Dougan.

“He may well be joined in an action for assault and battery on Mr. Cummings, Dr. Friday, etc.,” said Dougan.

Giving an account of what he saw during the melee at the House on March 3, Dougan said: “When I got there, I saw Mr. Cummings on the ground. I saw Dr. Friday… I saw him very dislevelled, very stressed out. His shirt was out of his pants and he turned almost red.

“I saw Major Leacock as though he was in a daze. …It is the second time in all my life and political history that I have shed a tear. I shed a tear in 1975 when Labour Party locked up Mrs [Yvonne] Francis -[Gibson], Mike Browne and others and put them in a cell,” said Dougan.

He noted that he thought he would have never had such an experience again.(HN)

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