DPP Fired?? LK Hewlett Story Updated: August 07th 2015 at 2:30 pm
While Opposition MPs have claimed Director of Public Prosecutions Travers Sinanan has been canned, the DPP remains in office at the Basseterre Judicial Building. Rumors have been circulating since Friday ( July 31 ) that the Attorney General Vincent Byron Jr. had gone to the DPP’s office to terminate his services. The Observer confirmed that up until Thursday , the DPP had turned up to work and carried out his duties from his office. Opposition MP Marcella Liburd said the Attorney General was getting rid of the Trinidadian attorney to make room for a chief prosecutor of the government’s choosing. Sinanan, who was a London Crown Prosecutor, had been hired in 2013 by the government of the day, the St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party. It is being rumored that Sinanan had a two-year contract which expired at the end of July, and the government refused his request for an extension a few months prior. While neither side is talking, there is some contention between the government and the DPP over his employment. Both sides did have a meeting on Friday , but the nature of the discussion is not known at this time. Labour Candidate Dr. Terrance Drew said during a radio show that he understood the DPP was asked to leave the government provided residence by Friday and to hand over all keys and government property by Monday ( Aug 3 ). He confirmed seeing police cars at the DPP’s residence over the weekend, backing up his colleagues claims that the DPP’s cellphone and other items were taken away by the police. The Observer confirmed that Sinanan remains at his usual residence and still has possession of his cellphone. The presence of police cars at the DPP’s home was in relation to a report of a death threat made against the prosecutor by a person accused of a serious crime, a source disclosed. According to MP Liburd, the post of Director of Public Prosecutions is constitutionally entrenched and the Attorney General is not in a position to simply fire him. She quoted sections of the constitution that spoke to the appointment and revocation of the post of the DPP. Section 81 of the constitution states: 5) Subject to subsection (7), the Director of Public Prosecutions shall vacate his office when he attains the prescribed age. (6) A person holding the office of Director of Public Prosecutions may be removed from office only for inability to exercise the function of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause or for misbehavior) and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of this section. (7) The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be removed from office by the Governor-General if the question of his removal from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under subsection (8) and the tribunal has recommended to the Governor-General that he ought to be removed for inability as aforesaid or for misbehavior. (8) If the Prime Minister or the chairman of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission represents to the Governor-General that the question of removing the Director of Public Prosecutions under this section ought to be investigated, then- a) the Governor-General shall appoint a tribunal which shall consist of a chairman and not less than two other members, selected by the Chief Justice from among persons who hold or have held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from such a court; and b) the tribunal shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor-General and recommend to him whether the Director ought to be removed under this section. (9) If the question of removing the Director of Public Prosecutions has been referred to a tribunal under this section, the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, may suspend the Director from the exercise of the functions of his office and any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with such advice as aforesaid, and shall in any case cease to have effect if the tribunal recommends to the Governor-General that the Director should not be removed. (10) The prescribed age for the purposes of subsection (5) is the age of fifty-five years or such other age as may be prescribed by Parliament. The Observer understands that the Judicial and Legal Service Commission as well as other organizations have become involved in the dispute. The High Court has been on break since early July, with the new law year scheduled to begin September 17 and the Basseterre Criminal Assizes set to commence September 22 .