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CCJ blocks lawsuit against Dominica in Tommy Lee detention case

Monday, February 20, 2017 | 12:30 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has blocked an application by show promoter Cabral Douglas against the island of Dominica for refusing entry to Jamaican dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta who was contracted to perform in the eastern Caribbean country.

The artiste was supposed to headline a show to mark the beginning of the annual carnival in Portsmouth, Dominica, in February 2014, but did not make it to the venue.

Tommy Lee (real name Leroy Russell) landed at the Douglas Charles International Airport in Dominica on February 14, 2014 along with his manager, disc jockey and personal assistant; however, they were denied entry to the country by immigration officials, arrested, detained and deported them following day.

Two and half years later, on August 24, 2016, an application was filed in court by Douglas, the organiser of the ill-fated event, against the Government of Dominica saying the decision to deny entry to the artiste caused him consequential financial, reputational and other losses.


According to a release today, Douglas has voiced disappointed in the state of jurisprudence in the Caribbean adding that there is a reason only four out of 15 countries have agreed to embrace the jurisdiction of the court as its final court of appeal.

He is quoted as saying that he believes the court has “squandered a tremendous opportunity to build its credibility as an international court and that in order to achieve credibility amongst the Caribbean people, at some point, politics, corruption and personal relationships need to be removed from judicial decision making”.

“One does not require a PhD in International Law to see that this is an appalling decision, motivated by something other than sound legal reasoning. Moreover, the implications of this decision are a huge step backwards for the implementation of the CSME, because the decision is not only binding on Cabral Douglas or the entertainment industry, but on all service contracts in approved sectors across the entire Caribbean Community as agreed by the heads of government,” Douglas said.

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