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Four criminal laws possibly breached in Reid, CMU matter — DPP

Friday, July 19, 2019

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THE Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has found possible administrative breaches and conduct which may have contravened four criminal laws in the investigation of allegations of irregularities involving Ruel Reid and Caribbean Maritime University.

Llewellyn, in a 14-point document released to the media yesterday, also indicated that there could be two common law offences looming.

However, the press release did not indicate the likelihood of who would be charged and when.

“We confirm that, consequent upon the assessment, we have earlier today provided the Financial Investigations Division with a detailed thirteen (13)-paged document, which includes a legal opinion, guidance and recommendations,” the document stated.

Noting that her office is not an investigative agency, the DPP said: “Whilst the ODPP (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) can make recommendations to investigative entities to prosecute individuals, or indicate that there is insufficient material to mount a viable prosecution, the police and other investigative bodies nevertheless retain primacy of decision-making in whether to arrest and charge and place any matter before the court.

“It has been judicially confirmed in dicta from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of The Commissioner of Police & Attorney General of Antigua v Steadroy Benjamin [2014] UKPC 8 that the director of public prosecutions cannot tell the investigators not to prosecute a particular individual,” she continued.

According to the document, the ODPP was contacted by the Financial Investigations Division in March 2019 concerning investigations surrounding former Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid the Caribbean Maritime University.

Following a meeting in March, discussions were held between the investigative team and the ODPP — (a deputy director of public prosecutions and assistant director of public prosecutions).

Meanwhile, the DPP is urging “…all to respect best practices, which require that the contents of investigations, especially in complex and sensitive matters, remain confidential. The ODPP, as part of its usual protocol, will always seek to assist investigators at the beginning, during and end of an investigation. No one is above the law and everyone is entitled to due process”.

Reid resigned from the Andrew Holness-led Cabinet in March after the allegations of irregularities surfaced. Prime Minister Holness said Reid was asked to resign after meeting with him.

“In keeping with the principles of good governance, I requested and received Minister Reid's resignation... the minister's resignation will ensure that any investigation into matters of concern will not be in any way impeded by his presence or oversight of the ministry,” Holness said in a brief statement then. He also quit the Senate.

Since his resignation, a slew of allegations have been mounted against him.


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