Senior counsel, Tony Astaphan, is threatening lawsuits against leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, for allegations made on Sunday that ministers of government are extorting sexual favors from women who come to them for assistance.
Speaking to privately-owned Kairi FM News, Astaphan said he was ‘absolutely shocked and stunned’ by the allegations and described them as “the most crass, nakedly dishonest statement from a political platform, from a political leader in the history of Caribbean politics.”
“Every minister of government is entitled to take legal action against Mr. Lennox Linton,” Astaphan said, adding that they will be advised on how to file the lawsuits.
Speaking at the UWP “Youth In IT Too” rally at St Joseph on Sunday, Linton referred to the alleged activities by ministers as rape and noted that there is no honor in a government who harbors them.
“There can be no honor in a government that harbors rapist ministers and upholds extortion of sexual services from young people seeking the facilitation of ministers to get personal development assistance from the public purse,” he said.
Astaphan said he has not spoken to any minister about the matter but has consulted the cabinet secretary and he will be informing the prime minister of it.
“That sort of reckless and dishonest statement must never be allowed to become part of the political circus the UWP is creating,” he stated. “It must be taken seriously and it must be confronted vigorously and seriously.”
In his St. Joseph speech, Linton said there there is a report made to the police in June, 2013 by a young woman who was seeking assistance and was asked by a minister to come to his home and when she did, he tried to force himself on her.
But Astaphan said Linton used only one alleged complaint to the police, “the facts and circumstances of we know nothing, to condemn the entire cabinet which include at least two female members…”
“I think that is outrageous,” he argued. “That is an extreme example of gutter politics and because of the nature of the allegation, Linton must not only be condemned but he must be made to provide clear transparent objective evidence of one, the ministers who rape in exchange for public assistance, the persons who were raped in exchange for public assistance…”
He further stated that Linton must provide evidence to the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) on the matter and then call a press conference.
“And explain to the people of Dominica and identify to the people of Dominica the minister who raped, the persons who were raped and the nature of the public assistance that was granted and if he does not do that in 24 hours, he must be condemned completely and absolutely,” Astaphan said.
DNO made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Linton on Astaphan’s threats.