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The rule of law is alive and well in SVG!

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22.FEB.08

EDITOR: There is so much unfairness, unreasonableness and plain ignorance about Mr. Colin Williams and his role as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in his recent discontinuation of two private criminal complaints against the Prime Minister. Those who seek the proverbial blood of the DPP and the Prime Minister are attempting a rape of justice.{{more}}

Let us look at the following dispassionately:

1. Colin Williams is a Vincentian professional of integrity.

2. He became DPP because the regional and independent Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) selected him for the appointment and advised the Governor-General accordingly. Mr. Williams applied for the job which was advertised. He was not the only applicant. The DPP is not a political appointee.

3. Colin Williams has discontinued cases before. He has the authority under section 64 of the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to take over and discontinue a private criminal prosecution. This is part of due process of law. Without the power of the DPP there will be umpteen private criminal prosecutions.

4. Mr. Williams gave full reasons publicly for his decision to discontinue.

5. The DPP’s decision to discontinue a private criminal prosecution is reviewable by the High Court. In the Prime Minister’s case, a judicial review is currently being pursued by the complainant. On February 28, 2008, her lawyers are seeking leave to apply for judicial review. This, too, is part of the due process of the law.

6. In the meantime, the lawyers for the complainant have filed a private civil, not criminal, case for compensation based on the same allegations. That, too, is part of the due process of the law.

Clearly, the rule of law is alive and well in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Due process is being followed. The political partisans for the complainant obviously have a distorted view of justice. For them, the Prime Minister has no rights and no claim to due process of the law. He must allow himself to be rail-roaded summarily.

These same political partisans would wish section 64 of the Constitution not to exist. But this would lead to prosecutorial mayhem, not justice. By the way, where were the opposition critics of Mr. Williams when not-too-long-ago, he discontinued the prosecution against the late Kerwyn Morris’ son on a firearms charge? They were most pleased! Mr. Williams then exercised his discretion under section 64 of the Constitution. It was his authority so to do. So it is now in the PM’s case.

Indeed, if the PM were not involved, there would be no judicial review by the opposition partisans. Their political lynching campaign will fail. I have confidence in the people and the Law Courts!

Meanwhile, the Opposition’s campaign overseas against the PM and St. Vincent and the Grenadines is wholly unpatriotic! Shame on them!

Shirley Batson

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