Faced with a barrage of criticism over comments he made on Wednesday, following the arrest of his former Cabinet colleague Ruel Reid and four others on corruption charges, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck yesterday backtracked to muted applause from his Opposition counterpart, Senator Donna Scott-Mottley.
But the youth organisation of the People’s National Party (PNP) continued its strident line, doubling down on its call for Chuck to resign over his comments which, he agreed, were inappropriate.
Chuck had questioned the decision by investigative agencies to carry out early-morning raids and cautioned the agencies to ensure that the evidence they are relying on to charge the five individuals was sufficient to successfully carry out a prosecution in the courts.
“What I said yesterday (Wednesday), in relation to the arrest of Ruel Reid, Fritz Pinnock and others, was inspired by the fact that the media was present at all locations during this early-morning raid,” Chuck told the Jamaica Observer.
“My daughter is one of the attorneys in the case [but] she and I lead separate independent professional lives. However, as justice minister my comments were inappropriate and I duly withdraw them in their entirety,” added Chuck, who had earlier told a National Integrity Action programme launch that he is opposed to corruption in all its forms.
“Speaking on behalf of the Government, we are committed to the rule of law to ensure that corruption is diminished and eventually removed from all ambit of governance [and] from all areas of the Jamaican society,” declared Chuck.
Responding to the retraction by Chuck, Scott-Mottley applauded him for his acceptance of his wrong move, but urged him to go further.