ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Local attorney Sir Gerald Watt, QC, has said it was improper for the police to publicly declare Sir Ronald Sanders a person of interest in the IHI debt settlement scandal.
Speaking on the Big Issues programme on Sunday Sir Gerald said the matter could have been handled differently.
Sir Ronald has told The Daily OBSERVER that he will take legal action.
Sir Gerald said even though the police may well have a proper defense, he believes that their next tactic should be to publish an apology before the whole situation escalates.
“If I was advising the police I would simply say to my clients, I think you should publish an apology and just state that it is not your intention to hold him as a suspect and let the matter rest. Go ahead with your investigation; you bring him to court you win, you lose or you do not have enough evidence and you do not proceed,” Watt said.
“Don’t forget long after if Sir Ronald Sanders is exonerated by a court, his position, not only in Antigua but in the region and internationally, if he wins it’s going to be horrendous damages and if he does, his reputation has been irreparably sullied and that’s not fair,” Sir Gerald added.
Meanwhile, Sir Gerald also questioned the silence of Attorney General Justin Simon and National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort on the new addition to the police force, who was sworn-in as a special investigator.
Guyanese attorney Sanjeev Datadin’s appointment has been heavily criticised by the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and former Police Commissioner Rawlston Pompey, who expressed concern that the proper procedures were not followed when the lawyer was sworn in.
According to Sir Gerald, Pompey is on the ball.
Sir Gerald also questioned Datadin’s statement that he was sworn in, rather than appointed as a special constable.
“Justin Simon QC is the chief advisor to the government of the state of Antigua & Barbuda and so any appointment of someone in a capacity such as Mr Datadin has found himself should be to the knowledge of the attorney general and the minister responsible for police at the very least,” the QC said.
“It’s clear that Mr Datadin doesn’t know what Section 72 of the Police Act states. Section 72 states that the commission may appoint special constables. That these special constables are to be appointed for a specific period of time not more than three years,” Sir Gerald added.