Senior Counsel, Tony Astaphan, has vowed to challenge a decision by the Integrity in Public Office Commission (IPO) to proceed with its hearing on a matter concerning Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit.
“I think we can say emphatically for all of those in the United Workers Party who are waiting anxiously what our position is going to be, this decision by the Integrity Commission is going to be challenged every single step of the judicial process,” Astaphan said on Kairi’s Next Level program.
Lawyers for the prime minister, Alick Lawrence SC and Lennox Lawrence, had raised objections to the proposed hearing and had written to the Commission on December 10, 2012 stating that it was “unlawful”.
They also went to court seeking a judicial review.
The IPO subsequently said it actually had jurisdiction to proceed with the inquiry ruling that it has “has complied with the statutory preconditions for embarking on the statutory requirements to hold an inquiry under section 33 of the Act.”
Hearings are expected to begin on February 23.
But the decision is not going down well with Astaphan. “I don’t think the decision is right nor do I think it is fair,” he stated.
He said Skerrit’s lawyers will be having a “tele-conference” to discuss the IPO’s decision and pointed out “perhaps without further consultation with the prime minister we should not say much more about the decision.”
The senior counsel however vowed the matter would be challenged. “Let your heart not be troubled,” he said.
PM Skerrit is before the commission on a complaint brought by radio personality and journalist Lennox Linton who claimed that he had used his official influence as Chairman of Cabinet to secure concessions for a business concern in which it is alleged that he holds ownership interest.
That complaint is the third part of a three point allegation brought to the attention of the Commission by Linton.
The two other parts of the complaint which also suggest that the prime minister had breached certain provisions of the Integrity in Office Act were rejected by the Commission.