By Latrishka Thomas
“Justice is being raped, battered and abused in the trumped-up bus case,” read one of several placards displayed by a protester who stood directly across from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) yesterday.
More than 50 residents came fired up to demonstrate their vexation over the fact that the DPP filed an appeal last week against the judge’s decision in the bus conversion matter involving three former Cabinet ministers.
On November 23, High Court Judge Colin Williams returned a formal verdict of ‘not guilty’ in the corruption scandal involving the former United Progressive Party (UPP) ministers Harold Lovell, Wilmoth Daniel and Dr Jacqui Quinn.
Then, on December 7, an application was made to have the higher court review the decision made by Justice Williams to dismiss the case against the three former ministers who were accused of corruption, embezzlement and conversion of three buses in 2008. They were said to have used the Daewoo buses, donated to their then administration by South Korea and worth more than $200,000 each, for their own personal gain.
The application, made to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, was based on 12 grounds indicating how the prosecution believes the trial judge erred in law.
This has sparked an uproar within the UPP and other concerned citizens.
As a result, UPP candidates organised Tuesday’s demonstration which saw persons coming out in droves.
One woman told Observer that she is protesting because “he [the DPP] nah have no backbone. He allow Gaston Browne to tell him what to do”.
Meanwhile, holding up a sign which read, “Dear Mr DPP, please remember taxpayers won’t forgive you for wasting their money”, one man said that, in his opinion, “it’s just a waste of taxpayers’ money because we have to pay for this”.
He added, “We have to think about the children who are eight, nine, 10 years to come.”
Similarly, another man gave an example of how he thinks the appeal will affect the country financially.
“When you put it back in again, when you tek sick and go Medical Benefits, you nah go get no medication,” he opined.
Another passionate resident referred to the appeal as “unreasonable”.
“The judge saw it fit to say that these people have no case to answer so they were not even called to the stand. So why is it that our DPP now decide that he’s going to appeal something that he did not even want to fight for himself?” he said in frustration.
Another man imputed that “some people are still paralysed or are enslaved by a politician. It’s about time they think about your country and fight for your country”.
Meanwhile, at the end of the protest, the participants rallied together as one of the three accused, the UPP Leader, Lovell, addressed them, saying that “spite and victimisation” are afoot.
“We are going to continue to fight. This is not a legal issue; this is now a political issue,” he declared.
The DPP has maintained that he will not be commenting on the matter.