Leader of parliamentary opposition, Lennox Linton, has written to the Chief of Police, Daniel Carbon seeking immediate action to have the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate Dr. Vince Henderson, barred from the upcoming Grand Bay by-election.
In a letter dated November 11, 2021, to Carbon, copied to the Chairman of Dominica’s Electoral Commission, the Chief Elections Officer, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Dr. Henderson, Linton contends that the DLP nominee is in violation of Dominica’s constitution and electoral law which prohibits anyone in the public service, and/or in a position of emolument in service to the State, from being accepted to run in any election on nomination day.
“As Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition of the Commonwealth of Dominica, and as my civic duty, I have a responsibility to ensure that the laws of our country are faithfully and fairly enforced. That, especially in cases where I believe a crime may have been committed with regard to our electoral laws,” Linton wrote.
In 2016, Dr Henderson was appointed as Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United States of America (USA) and the Organization of American States (OAS). As of nomination day for the by-election, November 9th, 2021, there was no public announcement by the Government of Dominica that Henderson was recalled or had resigned or tendered his credentials of withdrawal, from his position, Linton states.
“Despite the absence of any such public announcement of resignation from his ambassadorial office of emolument in service to the State, Mr. Henderson executed the requisite statutory declaration of qualification for election to the House of Assembly in breach of the qualifying criteria for such election provided in our Constitution and electoral laws,” the opposition leader insisted in his letter.
Linton further claims that Dr. Henderson appears to have made a “false or untrue declaration” in the nomination process for which he may be criminally liable under the Statutory Declarations Act Chapter 5:53.
“Therefore, please accept this letter as a formal request that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force interviews Vince Henderson, Dominica Labour Party candidate for the November 25, 2021 by-election,” the letter stated.
The Opposition Leader further requested from the Chief of Police, that during of the course of the proposed investigation, Henderson provides CID with duly authenticated letters, under the oath of the Minister of Foreign Affairs or Chief Establishment Officer, confirming that such letters of resignation and withdrawal of credentials to the OAS/USA were tendered prior to November 9, 2021.
“Where such letters cannot be provided to CID by Mr. Henderson, upon request, a crime has been committed under electoral laws and criminal charges must be issued,” he advised.
Linton further appealed to Carbon to act with urgency in investigating and/or prosecuting this matter as according to him, “time is of the essence.”
The Opposition Leader also requested of the Police Chief that he immediately notify the Director of Public Prosecutions of his finding upon investigation so that she may move with alacrity in charging Dr. Henderson with violation of our electoral laws, if he is unable to tender the duly authenticated documents of resignation/withdrawal referenced above.
“Do note that I am willing to provide whatever assistance may be needed in the investigation of this matter,” the Opposition Leader said as he closed his letter to the Chief of Police.