A personal gift to Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has landed him in an uncomfortable situation with the law.
Earlier this week, High Court Judge Justice Bernie Stephenson instructed that the engines on Skerrit’s EC$194,000.00 Wrangler Jeep be turned off and its registration be suspended, at least for now.
Dominican Attorney Cara Shillingford-Marsh has challenged the Integrity Commission in Dominica, for allowing the prime minister to keep the vehicle without conducting an inquiry into the circumstances of the giving of the gift.
Skerrit claimed that the vehicle was a personal gift from UK car dealer Moosa Navsa but Shillingford-Marsh argues that the Commission acted “illegally, irrationally, and unreasonably when it allowed a person in public office, namely Prime Minister Skeritt, to keep the gift of the Jeep Wrangler without conducting an inquiry into the circumstances of the giving of the gift”
Shillingford Marsh is also a member of the Integrity Commission and she brought the claim against Chairman Thomas Holmes and the entire Integrity Commission
In her argument, Shillingford-Marsh insisted that the Commission was required to conduct an inquiry according to provisions under the Integrity in Public Life Act
She argued that the Integrity Commission was required to do so under the Integrity in Public Office Act.
Additionally, Shillingford-Marsh said the Commission breached its international obligation, failing to give effect to Article 5 of the UN Convention Against Corruption.
The decision by the Integrity Commission according to Marsh-Shillingford, flies in the face of the provisions and fact, amounting to the sanctioning of corruption
Marsh asked the court to rule that the gift be handed over to the Financial Secretary in Dominica, since according to the attorney, it is the property of the state and cannot be retained by the prime minister
In her June 12 decision, the judge granted leave to Shillingford-Marsh, to file a judicial review challenging a decision of the majority members of the Commission.
The court also granted leave to Shillingford-Marsh to proceed with judicial review against the Integrity Commission but struck out the claim against the Chairman.
Attorneys Lisa De Freitas and Senior Counsel Reginald Armour represented the Integrity Commission, while Cara Shillingford-Marsh is being represented by her husband, attorney Wayne Benjamin Marsh.
Shillingford-Marsh has fourteen days to file her claim.