Opposition calls for resignation of Justice Minister over Ruel Reid comment

Opposition Senator Donna Scott-Mottley.

The youth arm of the People’s National Party (PNP) is calling for the immediate resignation of Justice Minister Delroy Chuck over remarks he made regarding the arrest of former education minister Ruel Reid and the president of Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Professor Fritz Pinnock.

In addition, the opposition spokesman on Justice, Senator Donna Scott-Mottley said she was deeply disappointed with Chuck’s comments “that appear to have thrown doubt on the ongoing work of law enforcement agencies investigating the myriad of allegations” surrounding Reid, Pinnock and the others.

Following the arrest of the five on Wednesday, Chuck said that what is interesting is that the DPP seemed to have had no additional material or evidence. “I don’t get the impression that these persons are actually running away. They have made themselves available on all occasions, so in fact, if an arrest should have been made, they could easily have been asked to come in so that they could be charged. And in these persons’ cases, if they are to be charged…I suspect that they could easily have been granted their own bail. I think it’s unfortunate that it has become so salacious,” Chuck said.

Delroy Chuck

In a statement, the People’s National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) said that the Justice Minister’s statements have eroded any confidence that he will not interfere with the investigation and prosecution of this case.

“The 2002 Government of Jamaica Code governing the conduct of ministers, Section 1 (vi) requires that ministers ‘ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.

‘He should recuse himself from the office to avoid any further impropriety or exercise of undue influence that may be seen as benefiting his daughter.’

— PNPYO

“It is our firm belief that in this instance, Minister Chuck represents a classic case of conflict of interest. He should recuse himself from the office to avoid any further impropriety or exercise of undue influence that may be seen as benefiting his daughter or his former colleague,” the PNPYO said.

The PNPYO noted that it was Chuck’s daughter, attorney Carolyn, who had been called to the Reids’ residence on Wednesday while the police were there.