Chuck is conflicted and must resign, says PNPYO
The People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) is calling for the immediate resignation of Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck over utterances he made following the arrest and charge of former education minister Ruel Reid and his co-accused.
The other accused are his Sharen Reid; their daughter Sharelle; Caribbean Maritime University president Professor Fritz Pinnock and Kim Brown Lawrence, the councillor for the Brown’s Town division in St Ann.
They offences include breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act, conspiracy to defraud, misconduct in a public office at common law and breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Reacting to the arrests, Chuck questioned how investigators went about taking them into custody.
Salacious and Nicodemus were how Chuck described the pre-dawn raids that lasted for several hours, arguing that investigators should have considered a different route.
LISTEN: Justice Minister @Delroychuckjm says it's unfortunate how the authorities before dawn, descended on Ruel Reid and other accused in the Education Ministry-CMU corruption case. He also says it seems that the authorities are still not sure what they are looking for. pic.twitter.com/l1L2k743Vo
— Jamaica Gleaner (@JamaicaGleaner) October 9, 2019
The PNPYO contends that the justice minister’s statements have eroded any confidence that he will not interfere with the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The organisation also argues that Chuck is further mired in controversy as his daughter, Carolyn Chuck, is reported as being retained as defence counsel for Ruel Reid.
“The 2002 Government of Jamaica Code governing the conduct of Ministers, Section 1 (vi) requires that Ministers ‘ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.’
“It is our firm belief that in this instance, Minister Chuck represents a classic case of conflict of interest,” a PNPYO spokesperson said in a statement this morning.
The PNPYO wants Chuck to recuse himself “to avoid any further impropriety or exercise of undue influence that may be seen as benefiting his daughter or his former colleague.”
“We go further to ask that Minister Chuck makes no further comments, whether in public or in private, on the matter and that he allows the police and the judiciary to act freely, without duress or undue influence.”
Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesperson on Justice Senator Donna Scott-Mottley says Chuck should immediately withdraw his comments, arguing that “the remarks have the potential of undermining the investigative work of the police and fuelling public scepticism and opposition to the ongoing corruption investigation”.
She contends that his statement also signals to the international community that the Jamaican government is willing to interfere in and to influence police investigations and compromise the balance of justice for its own political expediency.
“Minister Chuck, who is an attorney-at-law by training and has taught law at one of the country’s premier universities, should know that unsubstantiated comments of this nature are unwise and unnecessary in the present atmosphere, and have the potential of being prejudicial to the investigation and subsequent prosecution of the case.”