As the day gets closer to the November 25, 2021 by-election in the Grand Bay constituency, controversies continue over the legality of Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate Vince Henderson.
In 2016, Henderson was appointed as Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United States of America (USA) and the Organization of American States (OAS).
And, according to reports, 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.
This has prompted opposition leader Lennox Linton to write a letter to the Chief of Police Daniel Carbon asking him to investigate the nomination of Dr. Vince Henderson and alleging that he may be “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.”
However, in an interview with national radio DBS, attorney at law and DLP advocate Senior Counsel (SC) Anthony Astaphan has rubbished Linton’s comments labeling it “baseless, another scam and fabrication and a ploy by the United Worker Party (UWP) to raise funds.”
“My view is very clear on this so-called Vince Henderson matter. It’s another scam. It’s another fabrication created within the mindset of Lennox Linton and put out like a buffet to the people in this country, especially his supporters,” Astaphan said.
“And rest assured they are going to try to rely on this to raise funds as well. It’s another nonsense, fruitless but dangerous lie that has been put forward in the public domain.”
“The disqualification only applies to persons who are appointed in the public service, capital P capital S, the permanent and pensionable public service, and appointed by one of the commissioners, whether it is the Public Service Commission, perhaps the Police Service Commission, and or the judiciary Legal Services Commission. It does not apply to the ambassador.”
He continued, “So even if Vince Henderson was 100% still an active ambassador on behalf of the government by contract and being paid, that is not a disqualifying factor,” he argues. “The same way the Court of Appeals said that the general manager of NDC (National Development Corporation) is not in the public service although he’s working within the framework of the government, he is not appointed by any of the public service commissions under the Constitution.”
According to Astaphan, there is “no proof to support claims that Henderson is in fact being paid or under contract by the government at all and claims that these guys are probably looking to raise money, so they throw out another lie.”
Attached is the interview of Astaphan with DBS Radio as obtained by Nature Isle News (NIN).