Dominica facing deadline
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Dominica has been given a 30-day deadline to begin negotiations for compensation to dancehall artiste, Tommy Lee Sparta, who was deported from that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) island earlier this year.
Lee, through his attorney, Bert Samuels, has written to the Jamaica Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, A.J Nicholson, indicating that if the deadline is missed, he will file a claim before the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Sparta, who uses the stage name Uncle Demon, was due to headline a concert in Portsmouth, north of the capital, but he and two other members of his band were detained by police when they arrived on a private jet.
The Dominica government in a brief statement defended the decision to detain the men on arrival saying it was intended “as a pre-emptive action and also to provide an opportunity to exhaust all efforts to clarify information received”.
The Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC) had been calling for a boycott of the concert, here, featuring Sparta, whom it claims glorifies Satan during his performances.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Sparta said he is a CARICOM citizen and questioned the move by the Dominican immigration authorities.
In their letter, Lee and the other band members are alleging that on February 23, 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 say their forced removal from Dominica was a breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs CARICOM.
They also say no reason was given for the denial of entry and their subsequent deportation on February 24 and are contending that they received the treatment they did because they were Jamaicans.
In the letter, reference was made to Article Seven of the treaty which deals with non-discrimination and the musicians say they want the Jamaica government to raise the matter with its Dominican counterparts with a view to seeking compensation.
According to the letter, failure of the Dominican government to start compensation negotiations within 30 days will result in a lawsuit being filed with the CCJ.
Last year, the CCJ awarded Jamaican Shanique Myrie, pecuniary damages in the sum of BDS$2 240 and non-pecuniary damages to the tune of BDS$75 000 after ruling that the Barbados government had breached her rights to enter the country in 2011.