Advertisement

Chuck takes issue with how Ruel Reid, Fritz Pinnock et al were arrested

 
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has taken issue with the strategy used by the police in detaining former Education Minister Ruel Reid, Caribbean Maritime University President (CMU) Professor Fritz Pinnock and three others in a corruption probe involving the Education Ministry, CMU and other government agencies. 
 
The five were arrested on Wednesday by detectives of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).
 
The operations also involved the Financial Investigation Division and the Constabulary Financial Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (CTOC).
 
A few minutes before midday, Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen, the legal officer at CMU and their daughter, Sharelle, were all taken into police custody after detectives raided their home early Wednesday morning. 
 
A simultaneous raid took place at the home of Fritz Pinnock. Kim Brown Lawrence, Councillor for the Brown's Town Division in St. Ann, was also arrested.  
 
"What is interesting is that the DPP seemed to have had no additional material or evidence and what seems so unfortunate that the arrest took place which looks like Nicodemus in the night. I don't get the impression that these persons are actually running away. They have made themselves available on all occasions, so in fact, if an arrest should have been made, they could easily have been asked to come in so that they could be charged. And in these persons' cases, if they are to be charged...I suspect that they could easily have been granted their own bail. I think it's unfortunate that it has become so salacious," Mr. Chuck remarked.  
 
Mr. Chuck has also questioned the length of time the police investigation is taking to be completed.
 
He said it appears that the police are uncertain about how to proceed with the material they have. 
 
He was speaking with RJR News in St. Mary following a sensitisation session on the Child Diversion programme.
 
 
DPP 
 
Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has said her office did not make any recommendations to the police in relation to Wednesday's operations by the police.
 
Ms Llewellyn, who spoke on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, said her office had prepared a 13-page opinion that was sent to the Financial Investigations Division (FID), which indicated that more investigation was needed. She said no file was submitted to her office for further review. 
 
Ms Llewellyn also criticised the release of what she deemed sensitive information about the corruption probes in the public domain.
 
Most of the information have come through parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), however, the DPP is of the opinion that these information should have been in the purview of the police.  
 
She said this could compromise the chances of a successful trial if and when the matter goes to court.
 
PNP 
 
Julian Robinson, General Secretary of the People's National Party, said Wednesday's developments involving the former education minister demonstrate that no one is above the law "and if persons break the law, regardless of who they are, then they will be brought to justice." 
 
"The security forces have obviously done their thorough investigation. It's been some time in the making and I can just encourage them to continue their professionalism and ensure that they have the evidence which can stand up in a court of law," he said.  
 
CMU 
 
In the meantime, Chairman of the CMU Council, Dr. Hyacinth Bennett, says the university's management has met to discuss the matters relating to the arrests of Professor Pinnock and Mrs. Reid.
 
However, she says it would be inappropriate for the CMU to comment on the allegations or to make assertions about the case.
 
In a statement this afternoon, Dr. Bennett said the events have understandably caused concern among students, staff and other stakeholders.
 
She adds that Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna will continue to oversee the operations of the University as acting President. 
 


comments powered by Disqus
Most Popular
Caribbean Airlines launching flights from...
US warns of more tariffs on Chinese goods if...
Impressive winners in ISSA Netball Leagues