Chuck under fire over comments about Ruel Reid's arrest

Chuck under fire over comments about Ruel Reid's arrest

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is coming under fire this morning over comments he made yesterday following the arrest of former Education Minister Ruel Reid and four others on corruption charges.

Chuck had questioned the decision by investigative agencies to carry out early morning raids and cautioned the agencies to ensure that the evidence they are relying on to charge these persons was sufficient to successfully carryout a prosecution in the courts.

But in a release this morning, Opposition spokesperson on justice, Senator Donna Scott-Mottley said she was deeply disappointed with the comments made by Chuck, “that appear to have thrown doubt on the ongoing work of law enforcement agencies investigating the myriad of allegations surrounding Reid, the President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Fritz Pinnock, and others”.

According to Scott-Mottley, “Chuck's statement that 'the arrests took place in a manner that looks like Nicodemus in the night,' and his other misplaced comments on the raid and the timing and intent of the searches are unfortunate”.

She added: “Those remarks have the potential of undermining the investigative work of the police and fuelling public scepticism and opposition to the on-going corruption investigation.”

The Opposition spokesperson further charged that Chuck's statement, “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”.

She argued that Chuck, who is an attorney-at-law by training, 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.

Meanwhile, the People's National Party Youth Organisation has gone further, calling for the immediate resignation of Chuck over his comments.

According to the youth organisation, Chuck's statements have eroded any confidence that he will not interfere with the investigation and prosecution of this case.

“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. He should recuse himself from the office to avoid any further impropriety or exercise of undue influence that may be seen as benefiting his daughter or his former colleague,” said the youth organisation as it pointed to the fact that Chuck's daughter and fellow attorney Carolyn, was the one called to the Reid's residence while the police were there yesterday.

Reid, his wife Sharen, daughter Sharelle, Pinnock, and Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence (Jamaica Labour Party, Brown's Town Division, St Ann) are slated to appear in court this morning for the first mention of the case against them.

Lawyers representing the five are expected to apply for bail for them after they spent last night in police custody.

Arthur Hall

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