Senior Counsel, Tony Astaphan, has called for the resignation of the entire Integrity in Public Office (IPO), excluding the chairman, and has threatened to boycott a new hearing by the commission on January 7 concerning Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
Speaking on state-owned DBS Radio, Astaphan said the entire commission has been infiltrated by those affiliated to the Dominica Freedom Party and the United Workers Party who wants to embarrass the prime minister.
“We are not going to allow people with political axes to grind in the commission to turn it into a kangaroo court or pappyshow to try to embarrass the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit,” he said. “A letter was also sent to the chairman of the integrity commission saying we reserve the right, on the behalf of the prime minister, to demand that every single commissioner, other than the chairman of the commission, resign from the commission.”
He went on to say the reason why his team isn’t asking for the resignation of the chairman of the commission is because “he is a highly respected three-term secretary to the cabinet.”
But the senior counsel did not stop there. He threatened to boycott the sitting of the commission on January 7 if three members, including Babs Dyer and Anthony Laronde, attend.
“That pappyshow has to stop,” Astaphan insisted. “”This thing has become a joke and we are not prepared to make Roosevelt Skerrit part of any political joke by persons, not the whole commission, who are politically affiliated to political parties who will leak confidential information and matters before the commission.”
PM Skerrit is before the commission on a complaint brought by radio personality 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.
Hearings on the matter were expected to begin on December 17 but were pushed back to January 7 after Astaphan and his team threatened to take the matter to court seeking an injunction to have it quashed.
The lawyers had written to the IPO challenging the legitimacy of two of its members and the commission ruled that they (the lawyers) were entitled to be heard.