Gov’t awaits Attorney General’s response on joining Tommy Lee's deportation case at CCJ
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Jamaican Government says it’s awaiting a decision from the Attorney General on whether to take entertainer Tommy Lee’s Dominica deportation matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The Government response follows an August 8 letter from the entertainer’s attorney, Bert Samuels, demanding an update on Jamaica's intention.
Bert Samuels had written to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in May, asking that it investigates Dominica’s refusal to allow his client entry on February 23.
Later that month the Government wrote to the Dominican authorities about the circumstances that led to the deportations of Tommy Lee and three others.
However, while Dominica acknowledged receiving the letter, it is yet to respond.
In his letter to the Foreign Affairs Ministry last week, Samuels noted that there has been a lapse in time and the perceived inability of Dominica to deal with the matter.
He says Jamaica should decide whether it will join the case at the CCJ, adding that if not, he and his clients will proceed.
Samuels says he can go ahead with the case because of CCJ rules that make allowances when contracted parties fail to elect to institute proceedings within a reasonable time.
According to the lawyer, the deportation case is of great national and regional interest to ensure that liberties of citizens are respected and protected.
In a response today, David Prendergast, writing on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, said the matter has been referred to the Attorney General for consideration and decision.
Tommy Lee, whose given name is Leroy Russell, and three other men – Oralie Russell, Junior Fraser and Mario Wallace – are alleging that they were denied entry to Dominica on February 23.
They claim that they were held in inhumane conditions and later forced to leave without due process.
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