GLOATING behind his desk at the Port of Spain office of the Public Service Association (PSA) yesterday, its president Watson Duke said: “This morning I am experiencing joy beyond words. This morning I feel as if I have eagle wings. This morning I feel as if I’ve been able to soar above the storms that the PNM has created and send my way.”
Moments before, charges against him for sedition were dismissed.
He recalled when he was arrested for acts of sedition, saying it remains a bitter memory in his mind, and something that disturbed his wife and children, as well as something that resulted in direct financial loss to his family.
He said: “Today, I am pleased to say that in the eighth court, the judge that presided over the matter (Maria Busby Earle-Caddle), recognised that the law is now a non-law, in the words of Justice Frank Seepersad, the law lacks certainty, and therefore it is no law.
“The high court judge also went on to say that the law lacks the characteristics, the features and the tenets of a sovereign democratic state. It’s unconstitutional.”
Earlier this year Seepersad struck down certain sections of the Sedition Act in the case of deceased Sat Maharaj vs the State and Maharaj won his constitutional motion.
Duke benefited from that judgement.
Duke said: “So I am a free man, free from the scourge of the seditious charge and I want to tell you there are many more charges that I have and I’m not going to say too much on it but I expect my freedom.”
Duke spoke of being charged for pulling a fire alarm in Arima – in which judgment has twice been postponed – a Roxborough incident which goes to trial February 11 and a matter in which he was accused of rape at the Hyatt and is currently out on bail.
“Every single one of these matters were orchestrated by the (ruling party) PNM (people’s national movement). Hence the prime minister takes great joy, his face lights up like World Disney when he speaks of Watson Duke is charged, as if I’ve been convicted. I am an innocent man, my character is impeccable. Why give me the scourge and the stain of being guilty before a conviction?
“I think all the matters before the court I am innocent, even the Hyatt matter, I think I am absolutely innocent on that matter and every single other matter.”
Duke said the Hyatt matter was at a sensitive stage and he could not talk about it.
He said the State's attorneys had already questioned its witness and his attorneys were now in that process.
Raising his voice to a crescendo, Duke thundered, “The truth will be revealed in that matter and I ask the PNM to please stay out of that matter! (Attorney General Faris) Al-Rawi and his father Prime Minister (Dr Keith) Rowley stay out of the matter!”
He added: “I am offering myself for political office. The highest office which one could hold on behalf of the people, and I do not want people looking and saying he has matters before the court, as the PNM prime minister and the PNM acolyte Al-Rawi love to do.”
Duke believes as a staunch opposer of the PNM doctrine, the ruling party is out to destroy his "good name.”
He then vowed to speak on PNM’s Tobago election in a press conference on Wednesday where he would have the Progressive Democratic Patriots' (PDP) candidate for Tobago West in the general election, Tashier Grace Borris, present.