Former Government Minister with responsibility for Social Transformation, Human Resource Development, and Gender Affairs, Dean Jonas, has released a statement regarding the recent reports in the media about his encounter with two members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.
Jonas has clarified that during the encounter, one officer, Corporal Jason Joseph, demanded that he release his child to him, without any prior notice or an order from the court. When questioned about the legal authority under which he should comply with the officer’s demands, Jonas was not presented with any such document.
According to Jonas, he considered the officer’s demand to be an attack on his family and refused to comply with the instructions given, which he deemed unlawful. Despite repeatedly and loudly instructing the officers to leave his private premises, he was forcibly arrested for protecting the welfare of his family.
Jonas says he believes that this kind of conduct, which resulted in him sustaining various injuries at the hands of the police is reflective of societal attitudes towards fathers and their custodial rights, who are often not given the same level of legal protection as mothers.
While expressing his deep dissatisfaction with the treatment meted out to him by a member of law enforcement, Jonas acknowledged that he does not believe this level of unprofessionalism is a reflection of the entire Police Force, based on his interaction with other officers during the encounter.
Jonas reiterated his belief that all children have the right to responsible parenting, which should be fiercely protected within the ambit of the law.
He emphasized the importance of offering care and protection to children, as they contribute to the quality of the nation’s human resources.
Jonas expressed confidence that the courts, upon hearing the evidence in the case, will make the best decision in the interest of the law and the rights of all fathers in Antigua and Barbuda.
To fight his case and the cause of other fathers who may be at risk of encountering unlawful treatment, Mr. Jonas has engaged the services of a legal team of three, comprised of Mr. Wendel Robinson and Merise McDougal in the Law Offices of Wendell Robinson and Mr. George Lake of Lake and Kentish Attorneys at Law.
Jonas has been charged with disorderly conduct, making use of threatening language, battery on police, and resisting arrest.
He was granted station bail in the sum of $2000.00. No cash deposit was required. He will appear in court on Monday.