Promoter blocked from suing Dominica in Tommy Lee affair

February 20, 2017
Tommy Lee Sparta

Cabral Douglas, a Dominican music promoter, has been blocked from suing his country over the Tommy Lee affair.

Douglas, who is the son of former prime minister Rosie Douglas, had contracted with Heavy D Promotions Limited for Tommy Lee Sparta to perform at his privately owned entertainment venue in Dominica to mark the opening of Portsmouth Carnival in 2014.

He was seeking US$3 million in damages. 

Tommy Lee, whose given name is Leroy Russell, was denied entry into Dominica in February 2014.

Tommy Lee was scheduled to headline an international concert to mark the opening of the annual carnival in Portsmouth, but he did not make it to the venue as he was arrested, detained at the nearby Marigot Police Station, and deported the following day. The non-appearance of the featured artist led to the cancellation of the concert.

Douglas filed an application in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) seeking special leave to commence proceedings against Dominica. He claimed that in denying entry to Tommy Lee and his team, his rights were breached. He alleges that this infringement caused him consequential financial, reputational and other loss.

However, in its judgment, the court said Douglas was a ‘middle man’ in the contractual arrangements and was not the direct beneficiary of any of the treaty rights.

"He could at best, as proprietor of his privately-owned business, be regarded as a ‘service supplier’ of the Commonwealth of Dominica," the court said.

In a media release issued on Monday, Douglas said he is disappointed with the decision of the court. 

"I, therefore, believe that the court has squandered a tremendous opportunity to build its credibility as an international court. In order to achieve credibility among the Caribbean people, at some point, politics, corruption and personal relationships need to be removed from judicial decision making," Douglas said.