The Antiguan and Barbudan government is not concerned with a lawsuit filed by a popular Dominican businessman who is challenging his arrest and subsequent release from Antigua last weekend.
That’s because according to the government Chief of Staff, Lionel Max Hurst, the claims have no merit and cannot stand on any solid footing in a court of law
Attorneys representing Dominican businessman Dowlin Alexander have filed a lawsuit against Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin and Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney.
Alexander who was detained in Antigua and Barbuda last week Friday is represented by Wendel Robinson in St Johns Antigua.
They are seeking damages for false imprisonment, to also include wrongful arrest and breach of the rights to freedom of movement.
Robinson filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus and a constitutional motion on Saturday.
He insisted that his client was not served by the police which amounts to arbitrary arrest and a breach of his freedom of movement
But Hurst said while the matter was not discussed at a Cabinet-level, from previous experiences, the government of Antigua and Barbuda is free to determine whether or not a person can be deemed persona non grata.
“And this is exactly what happened. He [Alexander] was returned to Dominica within days following his arrival here in Antigua and Barbuda, and that decision is not subject to questions by law either. In other words, you would have no standing in bringing that matter before a court of law. Any immigration office in any country can determine that a person is not wanted in his or her country and return that person to the country from which he came”, Hurst said
Adding, “This is not a matter in any way that can cause liability to Antigua and Barbuda”.
In his sworn affidavit, Alexander said he arrived at V.C Bird on a LIAT flight at 6p.m and after he cleared immigration and proceeded towards the Customs Department to collect his luggage, a “fat man dressed in plain clothes” took him back to the immigration department where he overheard something about a Red Notice
A Red Notice alert was been in place for the arrest of Alexander, which was filed by the French government in May this year.
Alexander said he was then transported by police officers to the Criminal Investigations Department in St Johns where they held him in custody.
“All I was told by Sergeant Chapman at CID is that I am wanted by overseas law enforcement for Drug Trafficking. Nothing else was said to me nor was I given any documents; except for a list of items taken from me and being held by the police in CID along with my Dominican Passport…” he said
Alexander said he slept at the St Johns Police station in the cells overnight in the most horrific conditions
He said furthermore that he was offered nothing to eat by the officers on duty and even when food was brought by his friends in Antigua it was impossible to eat under these conditions
The well-known businessman said that based on the sequence of events, he believes that his constitutional rights were breached.