Updated: March 24, 2021

One year ago, March 10, 2020, the government of Dominica, represented by Vince Henderson, appeared before UN Humans Right Committee to answer a broad range of questions on the status of Human Rights in Dominica. Among the many inquiries were issues related to discrimination on the basis gender and sexual orientation, treatment of indigenous  (Kalinago) people, women’s rights, infringement on the right of peaceful assembly and use of force against political opposition. Notwithstanding prior knowledge of the issues to be raised at the inquiry, Henderson was grossly unprepared to answer inquiries related to the latter 2 issues. 

The committee was particularly  concerned about the cavalier manner in which State of Emergency Powers were being invoked. They wanted to know why State of Emergencies were declared 20 times in the past 20 years. On the issues of infringement on right to peaceful assembly and use of force against those with opposing political views, Vince Henderson blatantly lied his was through the proceedings. He objected to the information on prosecution and use force against the political opponents as being biased against the DLP Administration. Henderson said " .. use of force were consistent with International standards and the Constitution". He also said that “....Police Officers had been brought to court for use of excessive force and there was an internal mechanism within the police force to deal with the issue ...". Despite being educated and experienced, Vince Henderson needed to be reminded that lying before a UN organization is unprofessional and has consequences. Gassing the People of Salisbury while they were asleep on December 5, 2019 is not part of the Laws or Constitution of Dominica, nor is it part of International Law. It is illegal and inhumane.  
Over the past year, the brutality and prosecution has continued. For example, Opposition Parliamentarian, Danny Lugay was unlawfully detained for being in a vehicle on a public road in the vicinity of PM Roosevelt Skerrit thirty-million dollar mansion located in a Residential area. Now, exactly one year following Vince Henderson’s appearance before Human Rights Commission, Police Brutality continues to be meted out on the Community. On February 15, 2021, a young man died after being brutalized while in police custody for alleged burglary. Now, five weeks after his death and completion of an autopsy, Police spoke persons are stating that CARICOM help is being sought to clarify what happened. No comment on any interim actions to safeguard the public from indiscriminate actions by the officers involved. Similarly, contrary to Vince Henderson's lie before the UN Human Rights Commission 1-year ago, the Police has not commented on any protocol in place to manage the officers involved in a the young man’s death while the investigation is ongoing. Essentially, these rogue officers are still on active duty and remain a risk to the public.  

This brings us to events that occurred on March 3 and 4, 2021 and which involves unreasonable arrest, detention and use of excessive force by the Police. On March 3, two young entrepreneurs, Lynworth Mitchell and Jawanza Stuart, were conducting photographic work for a real estate agent in the Morne Daniel Community. The property being photographed using a drone equipped with a Camera was in the vicinity of PM Roosevelt Skerrit XCD $29 million mansion. The Chinese Spy Embassy Building is also located in this same Residential Area of Morne Daniel  The drone was brought down by unclear means, some  locals claims Chinese were involved, and according to the Police the young men were arrested '.. on suspicion of suspicion and espionage..'!  The following day, March 4, during peaceful vigil calling for release of the two individuals, an officer wearing civilian clothing and without any official identification, assaulted a protestor and, his mother was dragged on the concreted surface into Police headquarters. Both mother and son were charged with assaulting a police officer, contrary to the events observed by those attending the protest.  


                                                Ill-disciplined, Wild Police Behavior


Many aspects of the UN's Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Human Rights Standards for Law Enforcement were violated by members of the Dominica Police Force. The following is the text from the UN High Commission for Human Rights at it relates to International Human Rights Standards for Law Enforcement:

1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
2. Human rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person.
3. Law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfill the duty imposed on them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts.
4. Law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.
5. All persons are equal before the law, and are entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection of the law.
6. In protecting and serving the community, police shall not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, language, colour, political opinion, national origin, property, birth, or other status.
7. It shall not be considered unlawfully discriminatory for the police to enforce certain special measures designed to address the special status and needs of women (including pregnant women and new mothers), juveniles, the sick, the elderly, and others requiring special treatment in accordance with international human rights standards.
8. The recruitment, hiring, assignment and promotions policies of police agencies shall be free from any form of unlawful discrimination.
If acting Police Chief, Lincoln Corbette is either ignorant, limited in his capabilities or need legal counsel to understand the above, he should seek counsel from the AG office before letting his ill-indisciplined officers  go wild against the public. If this behavior continues, he may one day be dragged before International Courts. Then, as now, using the excuse that you were following orders will not suffice to obtain clemency for crimes against people whom the Police are supposed to be protecting. Corbette should also be reminded that:
1. International human rights law is binding on all States and their agents, including law enforcement officials.
2. Human Rights is a legitimate subject for international law, and international scrutiny.
3. Law enforcement officials are obliged to know, and to apply, international standards for human right.
These ongoing violations and acts of police brutality do not go unnoticed by International Human Rights Organizations; they are being documented. Ambassador Vince Henderson, DLP cabinet, PM Skerrit, Acting Police Commissioner and the others who execute or condone these acts against the public should be forewarned that some time in the future they may be the ones pleading for clemancy and understanding before the International Courts!
Full Disclosure: - Information regarding recent behavior of Police in Dominica have been forwarded to relevant International Human Right Bodies in North America and Europe.