Speaker, Opposition appear in court
Speaker of the Dominica House of Assembly, Alix Boyd Knights and the leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Ron Green, appeared in a magistrate’s court today on charges brought by the Integrity Commission.
The Commission is alleging that they failed to declare their assets for the period 2009-2010.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Gene Pestaina had in August charged 25 persons in public office, including parliamentarians, heads of official government departments, managers of statutory corporations, boards and commissions under the Integrity in Public Office Act.
The charges were later withdrawn against six of those charged while the court ruled that the 19 others would have their matters heard between March and May 2011.
They include Bentley Royer and Tammi Jean Jacque, legislators from the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP), chief psychiatrist Griffin Benjamin, the chief cultural officer Raymond Lawrence and former UWP legislators Marcel Nicholas and Nicholls Esprit.
Prosecutor Wayne Norde said the matter against those charged including Boyd-Knights and Green could not proceed any further until his office had been given time to make the relevant disclosures to the defendants.
“This is the first time that the matter has come up before the court and the prosecution has not made disclosures to defendants. I would not feel comfortable to know that the defendants have not yet been served with the disclosures,” he said.
“The prosecution will be ready for the next court date,” he added.
The offence carries a fine of EC$20,000 (US$7,407), or imprisonment of up to two years or both. (CMC)