Has newly ap­pointed act­ing DPP taken on a Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By

An­gel­ica O’DonoghueHolder

The DPP’s chair that had been va­cant for al­most a year will fi­nally be filled, if only tem­po­rar­ily. On Wed­nes­day, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Se­na­tor Her­mangild Francis of­fi­cially an­nounced the ap­point­ment of lo­cal at­tor­ney Daas­rean Greene as the re­place­ment for re­tired Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke. He has been con­tracted to act in her place for twelve months. His of­fi­cial pow­ers and in­stru­ments will be pre­sented when he takes the oath of of­fice, ad­min­is­tered by the governor gen­eral on Oc­to­ber 17.

The po­si­tion of the Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions is a con­sti­tu­tional one, with a con­trac­tual life­span lead­ing up to the of­fi­cial re­tire­ment at age of 55. But ac­cord­ing to Se­na­tor Francis, “he [Greene] should be given the op­por­tu­nity to prove him­self and also the govern­ment must be able to make an as­sess­ment of what has hap­pened at least over one year.

“Af­ter a year,” said Francis, “I am not sure if Mr. Greene would be so in­clined as to con­tinue in the po­si­tion or vice versa, or if the govern­ment will be sat­is­fied to such an ex­tent that we would want to con­tinue with him.”

The term “act­ing” be­fore his ti­tle spares Greene the bur­den of hav­ing to re­main in the po­si­tion un­til the of­fi­cial re­tire­ment age of 55, ac­cord­ing to Se­na­tor Francis who ref­er­enced sec­tion 73 of the Con­sti­tu­tion that speaks to the strict re­stric­tions of re­mov­ing per­sons from such po­si­tions.

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day the min­is­ter cited other sim­i­lar con­sti­tu­tional po­si­tions like that of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and Au­di­tor Gen­eral which may prove dif­fi­cult to dis­miss.

“To re­move a con­firmed Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions be­fore the age of re­tire­ment would re­quire proof he or she is in­com­pe­tent, cor­rupt or in ill health.

“In any event, the de­ci­sion is that of the Le­gal Ser­vices Com­mis­sion . . . and they will put in a com­mit­tee to re­view his per­for­mance then they de­cide whether he or she should re­main in of­fice,” Francis said.

In an in­ter­est­ing twist, the se­na­tor’s brother and Straight Up host Claudius Francis on Wed­nes­day chal­lenged the govern­ment’s bid to in­stall a lo­cal prac­tis­ing lawyer in a po­si­tion that gives him com­plete ac­cess to the files of the DPP, if only for one year. Said the ra­dio per­son­al­ity, the act­ing DPP will be free to re­turn to pri­vate prac­tice armed with sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion from the files of the DPP’s of­fice, which Francis saw as prob­lem­atic.

Min­is­ter Francis coun­tered: “Mr. Greene is a pro­fes­sional and a Saint Lu­cian and we need to give him the ben­e­fit of the doubt that he is go­ing to act as a pro­fes­sional. I do not want to think of it, that Mr. Greene would want to come in there and for some rea­son look at files and then when he gets back out there he has an un­fair ad­van­tage. I don’t think we should en­ter­tain any such ideas. We should give our own peo­ple the re­spect and con­fi­dence pro­fes­sion­als de­serve.”

The new man at the DPP’s of­fice will have to deal with a back­log of some four thou­sand cases, pre­dat­ing the re­tire­ment of Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke. The se­cu­rity min­is­ter specif­i­cally listed IMPACS, Lam­birds and over 500 in­dict­ments re­quir­ing ur­gent at­ten­tion. “He has to tackle all of the cases, but we have to look at the IMPACS re­port. It’s not only af­fect­ing the po­lice of­fi­cers, but also the whole coun­try.”

Home, Jus­tice and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Se­na­tor Her­mangild Francis and his govern­ment don’t seem keen on get­ting stuck with a strained re­la­tion­ship with a DPP for the next five years, us­ing one year as their pre­lim­i­nary round to judge a work­ing kin­ship with the Direc­tor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.