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Court dismisses appeal in ‘Que Pasa’ money laundering case

Anthonio "Que Pasa" Gellizeau (Photo: searchlight.vc).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Court of Appeal has dismissed a motion contesting the constitutionality of the nation’s money laundering laws.

It says that lawyers for Kent Andrews, Winston Robinson, and Antonio “Que Pasa” Gellizeau “undoubtedly face a difficult task” in seeking “to assail the constitutional integrity” of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The appeal stemmed from a case that began in April 5, 2008 when Coast Guard officials found US$1.6 million concealed in vacuum packed bags on board the yacht, Jo Tobin, during a search.

Andrews and Robinson were on board the yacht and were charged with breaches of section 41(2)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering (Prevention) Act of 2001, also known as the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The yacht was owned by Gellizeau and the court granted an order restraining him from transferring, selling, parting with or otherwise charging all realisable assets owned or controlled by him, whether in his name or not, whether solely or jointly owned or held, whether located in our outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The men’s lawyers filed constitutional motions contending that the Proceeds of Crime Act and its amendments go beyond the powers (ultra vires) of the Constitution.

They claimed that the laws were an amendment to the Constitution and ought to have been enacted in accordance with section 38, which speaks to alteration of constitutions and Supreme Court Order.

The appellants also claimed that the ex parte procedure associated with the initial stage of seizure deprived a party of the right to be heard. They further claimed that their fundamental rights and freedoms under section 1 of the Constitution were violated.

But High Court judge, Frederick Bruce-Lyle dismissed the claims, holding that they were brought, in part, pursuant to section 1(c) of the Constitution, which, as a general provision, is not justiciable.

The judge also held that the Proceeds of Crime Act did not amend the Constitution.

In their appeal, the appellants contended, among other things, that Bruce-Lyle erred in holding that section 38 of the Constitution does not apply to Acts which affect fundamental rights and freedoms.

They argued that the Proceeds of Crime Act violated, altered, or affected the fundamental rights under the Constitution and it proposed to amend the constitution; and that as such, it ought to have been passed in accordance with section 38 of the Constitution.

The appellants contended that Bruce-Lyle erred in holding that there was no breach of the protection of the law and also pointed out that no regulations have been made to regulate the procedure to be followed upon seizure of property pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

But after hearing arguments from both sides, the Court of Appeal dismissed the case.

“In as much as the appellants seek to assail the constitutional integrity of the Proceeds of Crime Act, they undoubtedly face a difficult task. The constitutionality of a parliamentary enactment is presumed unless it is shown to be unconstitutional and the burden on a party seeking to prove that such an enactment is invalid is a heavy one …” the court said in its ruling.

The Appeal Court further cited several cases in support of its ruling.

It further ruled that the Proceeds of Crime Act “does not infringe the appellants’ rights under the Constitution.

“It does not have the effect of adding to, varying or repealing any provision of the Constitution. Consequently, the special procedures contemplated by section 38 of the Constitution could not be engaged. In the circumstances section 38 of the Constitution is inapplicable to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The case was heard by Justice of Appeal Davidson Kelvin Baptiste along with acting Justices of Appeal Tyrone Chong, Q.C. and Jefferson Cumberbatch.

Theodore Guerra S.C., Kay Bacchus Browne, Alberton Richelieu and Stephen Williams represented the appellants while Gilbert Peterson, S.C. and Ruth Ann Richards appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

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Discussion

10 thoughts on “Court dismisses appeal in ‘Que Pasa’ money laundering case

  1. What an excellent article you have written here. I really enjoyed reading through all of it and have bookmarked your website so I can come back to it in the future. It is so great to finally find someone who takes the time to research their topic and write a quality article about it. Too many people put up blogs with nothing useful or worth reading. So thank you so much for not being of those people. I will be back soon to read more.

    Posted by wordpress tricks | December 31, 2011, 14:01
  2. I suppose this action was par for the course, this man gets different treatment to those who took a million US dollars to the NDP bank in a crocus bag. No enquiry, no court case, no money grabbed by the FIU.

    Different laws for different people.

    1 law for public scum

    1 law for parliamentary scum

    A million US dollars taken to the bank in a crocus bag by a ULP Senator, with a request to exchange it for EC dollars

    All those family and ULP party members who took multi thousands of US dollars to the bank, with no credible or reasonable explanation of where it came from.

    Million US dollars plonked into a government bank account, no explanation of where it came from.

    No one ever arrested, no one questioned, no one charged
    ..
    Do the same laws apply, why not arrest all these people, why not arrest the Minister of Finance?

    Can we trust Gonsalves? can we trust Miller? can we trust the DPP? can we trust the Judiciary? can we trust anyone in or controlled by this Marxist government?

    Posted by Peter | January 1, 2012, 12:09
  3. Peter, NDP bank?

    I SUGGEST that you take a REST.

    Posted by vincypowa | January 1, 2012, 13:51
    • NCB is now “Boo SVG” Thanks to ULP and its Flim-flam artist .. Ralph. Another master stroke

      Posted by Olbap | January 4, 2012, 14:23
  4. Just testing to see if your awake, pleased that you agree with the rest. Thanks for your support.

    Posted by Peter | January 1, 2012, 19:14
  5. Lets just hope that Gonsalves doesn’t introduce Islamist Sharia Law to please the Iranians and all that other scum.
    Otherwise there will be a lot of women being stoned to death, whilst the men throw coconuts down from trees, scot free and rewarded.

    I have been watching the Cafe belonging to the Gonsalves family, seems they are taking about $300 a day, plenty of room there for expanding turnover? One wonders why they need to open a business that competes with poor people? what is the reason to own a small cash business like this?

    Posted by Peter | January 6, 2012, 11:09
  6. Most of the foolish ordinary people who are fighting over politics get nothing but dry bread without butter to eat and some swank.(sugarwater) Unfortunately,these are the people who really put Govt in Power. But as soon the election comes around the Govt knows that they are so hungry that they will settle for any thing such as a $100 bribe which should last them for 4yrs.(What will Ralph Gonsalves call these people so easy to bribe,is it the dull brains class?)
    (“All yo tink Ralphie making Joke,the man done built he big mansion before he second term finish,now has restaurant in town. You see Julian Francis huge bar in carnival. The man them looking out for their kind”)

    All black people have is ‘doo doo’ in their head to fight and kill one another,jealous and hate their own kind. A sort of niggeritist disease. (Sometimes you wonder why white men abolish slavery?)

    Always Vincy Patriot
    Neut& indep
    Prof-Das

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 16, 2012, 13:15
  7. MY DECEITFUL AND NUTTY PROFESSOR, who CLAIMS that he is NEUTRAL and INDEPENDENT, appears to be WAVERING.

    Nevertheless, he is only FOOLING himself, if he BELIEVES that somehow he is what he has claimed that he is, because I saw his DECEIT from the very FIRST POST he made on this BLOG. It is all in the nuances and delivery of his comments where you can CLEARLY see that he is just another in the LINE of ULP DETRACTORS.

    Take it from me, you will see more NEGATIVE SLANTS/PRATTLES against the ULP GOVERNMENT, especially against JULIAN and Dr. GONSALVES, from my DECEITFUL and NUTTY PROFESSOR.

    Posted by vincypowa | January 16, 2012, 14:27
  8. Idiot boy what stupidness you are trying to say? Why you don’t stop being a robot and use your own brain. Are you saying that I lying on Ralph Gonsalves and Julian Francis? Is any thing I say here that Vincentians don’t know about? So Who is the DECEITFUL ONE NOW, you or me? Who has something hide MR DECEIVER you or me? I guess you the only Vincentian who don’t know about the Prime Minister and Julian Francis ‘rich and famous’phylosophy is to gain EC$ and US$ by any means necessary. Ofcouse you will be the only one,because I guess you are not from planet earth,alien boy.

    A person who hide from telling the truth is a DECEITFUL PERSON,so you talking about your self,if you don’t believe me go and ask a judge you can trust.Please don’t ask ‘Ralphie’ because you know (‘them lawyers go wa na cover-up the crime stuff and ting man.)So you see I am not negative against you to tell you the true meaning of a DECEITFUL PERSON. So why do you think I am negative to tell you the truth about,(them big boys fantasy and dreams to get rich?. TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE NDP GOVT THAT DISPLEASES YOU SO I CAN ALSO ELABORATE ON IT.(This your challenge).

    Silly boy what are you getting from being corrupt. All I think you get from these politicians is (SOME drybread without butter and some sugar water.) Tell me if you get ANYTHING more than that. I will be proud of you.

    Listen, the water bill is going up, can you ask Ralph Gonsalves or Julian Franis to stop Water Authority from raising it just for the sake of poor people.
    WHEN YOU CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN GET BACK TO ME. IF NOT PLEASE DON’T TO AVOID EMBARRASMENT.
    VincyPatriot
    Neut &Indep
    Prof-Das

    Posted by Danniel8 | January 16, 2012, 18:26

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