Ramesh Dookhoo hands in resignation as Caricom trustee
…PSC condemns APNU/AFC attempts to prejudice today’s ruling
Former Private Sector Commission (PSC) President Ramesh Dookhoo has offered his resignation to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Board of Trustees, over allegations of a conflict of interest regarding his position as a trustee and the ongoing electoral case before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
This was revealed in a statement Dookhoo released on Tuesday, responding to the allegations. In his letter, Dookhoo denied claims that he has been meeting with influential people to interfere in the affairs of the Caribbean Court of Justice and moreover called out A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) supporters for their attacks on the CCJ.
“I wish to reiterate that (these reports) are utterly false and unsubstantiated and it is against due protocols in the spirit of natural justice and the functioning of the judicial system, to engage in slaughtering attacks on the Court and its Officers especially when the case has not yet been ruled upon,” he said.
The PSC executive also noted that the only meetings he has had at his house were with the view of finding ways to financially assist Guyanese stranded overseas by COVID-19, in returning home.
“The representatives of the institutions that make up the Board of Trustees are highly esteemed and respected professionals across the Caribbean, it is ludicrous to even accuse one of its representatives of having some kind of influence on the CCJ Judges,” Dookhoo said in his statement.
As such, he offered his resignation to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, on account of the damage the allegations have done. This publication attempted to make contact with Dookhoo to find out whether his resignation has been accepted but calls to his number went unanswered.
Meanwhile, the PSC he once headed, on Tuesday called on political parties and citizens to continue to “respect the rule of law and the basic fundamentals of the democratic process.” They made special mention of A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).
In a press release, the PSC said it has observed that supporters of the APNU/AFC have mounted active street protests in select areas of the country “specifically seeking to influence” the matter before the CCJ with regards to the General & Regional Elections held on March 2, 2020.”
“We believe it is unfortunate that any one of the political parties currently represented in the case before the CCJ should attempt to prejudice the ruling of our Apex Court in the matter before it, we, however, recognise the rights and freedom of peaceful and orderly protest but we wish to emphasise that political street protests at this particularly sensitive time by one political party can rapidly invite counter protest from their opponents with real potential for these protests to descend into disorderly and possibly violent behaviour,” the PSC noted.
According to the Commission, it is therefore in support of recent statements by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC), which urged “responsible behaviour as the nation awaits the final declaration of the March 2 General and Regional Elections”
The PSC, therefore, lent its voice to the call by the ERC “for all Leaders and stakeholder groups to act in a much-needed responsible manner and to ensure those whom they influence do likewise”.
The PSC also called upon Commissioner of Police Leslie James to ensure that the rule of law is respected and firmly applied and enforced without favour against any attempt to promote, incite, or participate in public disorder or violence of any kind.
It has been over four months since Guyanese went to the polls and there has been no lawful result. Issues surrounding the election results are currently before the Caribbean Court of Justice, which will render a judgement today.
The international community has overwhelmingly declared that the results from the recount, which show a PPP victory, should be used. The CCJ has to rule on the issue of whether more votes mean more valid votes, in the context of Order 60 of 2020.
Ahead of the decision, however, there have been advertisements, articles and even APNU/AFC-organised protests which seek to reinforce the view that the CCJ does not have jurisdiction to rule on the case. This is despite a Government order which prohibits such gatherings amid the rapidly rising COVID-19 cases.