The High Court in Dominica has ordered that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit stop the use of his Wrangler Jeep until a legal matter is settled. The court also ruled that its registration number be suspended.
The vehicle, costing EC$194, 000.00 which was a personal gift to Skerrit by ‘Moosa Navsa’ is being challenged by attorney Cara Shillingford-Marsh.
On June 12, 2023, High Court Judge, Justice Bernie Stephenson delivered a decision in which she granted leave to Shillingford-Marsh, who is also a member of the Integrity Commission in Dominica, to file a judicial review challenging a decision of the majority members of the Commission of February 12, 2021, to allow Skerrit to keep the gift.
The claim was brought by Shillingford-Marsh against Stephenson Hyacinth in his capacity as chairman of the Integrity Commission, and Thomas Holmes in his capacity as a member of the Integrity Commission, and the Integrity Commission.
Shillingford-Marsh is alleging 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.
She argued that the Integrity Commission was required to do so under the Integrity in Public Office Act.
She further argued that the decision of the Commission was in breach of its international obligation, in that the Commission failed to give effect to Article 5 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and that the decision flies in the face of the provisions and in fact, amounts to the sanctioning of corruption.
She is asking that the gift be handed over to the financial secretary since the gift is property of the state and cannot be retained by the prime minister.
In the decision which came two years after the application was filed, the court granted leave to Mrs. Shillingford-Marsh to proceed with judicial review against the Integrity Commission but struck out the claim against Stephenson Hyacinth and Thomas Holmes.
Shillingford-Marsh has fourteen days from the date of the court’s decision to file her claim.
The integrity commission was represented by Lisa De Freitas and led by Senior Counsel Reginald Armour while Cara Shillingford-Marsh is being represented by her husband, attorney Wayne Benjamin Marsh.