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Dominica wants to settle Tommy Lee deportation case

Published:Friday | March 6, 2015 | 12:37 PMBarbara Gayle Justice Coordinator
Tommy Lee.

The Dominican Government wants to pursue an amicable settlement in relation to the deportation of dancehall entertainer, Tommy Lee and three other Jamaican men in February last year.

This was communicated in a letter from the Attorney General's department in Jamaica to attorney-at-law Bert Samuels who is representing the four men.

 

Karlene Brown reports:

Last May Samuels threatened that the men would file a claim with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) if Dominica did not start to conduct  negotiations for compensation within 30 days.

Samuels had also written to Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, A.J. Nicholson for the Government of Jamaica to be joined as a party to the dispute.

When asked today about the men's decision, Samuels said he was going to submit their claim to the Attorney General for the negotiations to be done through the government.

Deputy Solicitor General and director of International Affairs Division, Dr Kathy-Ann Brown outlined in the letter to Samuels that the Jamaican Government received a formal indication from the Attorney General in Dominica of his government's willingness to settle the dispute.

The letter, which is dated March 3, further stated that once the men favour an amicable settlement and the Attorney General has the opportunity to review additional material submitted, then a meeting will be held to address the men's concerns.

On February 8 last year, the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches called for a boycott of a concert that was expected to feature the Jamaican entertainer, Tommy Lee.

The church group claimed Tommy Lee glorified Satan during his performances and promoted lawlessness and violence.

When the artiste and three others arrived in the CARICOM country on February 23 last year, they were detained by the authorities at the airport and deported a day later.

The men say they want Dominica to pay for the alleged injustice.

Tommy Lee, whose given name is Leroy Russell, Oralie Russell, Junior Fraser and Mario Wallace are alleging that they were denied entry, placed in custody under what they call inhumane conditions and forced to leave the island a day later without due process.

The men contended that their forced removal from Dominica was a breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs CARICOM.

They said that no reason was given for the denial of entry and their subsequent deportation.

The Dominican Government claimed that the men were denied entry in the interest of public safety.

It said the decision was a pre-emptive action to provide the opportunity to clarify information it received.