By Sue-Ann Wayow
ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour, SC, is being called upon to apologise for his recent statements regarding the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The call is being made by state attorneys in the DPP’s office who delivered a letter to the AG’s Secretariat on Wednesday.
The three-page letter was delivered following a three-hour long meeting between Armour and DPP Roger Gaspard, SC earlier in the morning.
Regarding Armour’s comments about the under performance of the DPP’s office, the letter stated, “They (the AG’s statements) do not accurately reflect the efforts and commitment of the staff at this Office. These statements present a distorted view of the existing reality and are likely to undermine public confidence in the Office.”
The contents of the letter also related to a building in Port of Spain that is intended for use by the DPP’s office.
The letter states, “We understand that a directive has been issued for us to vacate Winsure Building, 24-28 Richmond Street, Port of Spain (which currently houses the office of the DPP), and begin occupation of the pre-designated Park Court Building, No 19-21, corner of Park and Henry Street, Port of Spain, with immediate effect.
“This directive serves as a further blow to our physical and mental well-being as we have been informed by the Director of Public Prosecutions that the Special Branch Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has advised against occupation of that building without implementation of the suggested recommendations.”
The attorneys stated that many have already suffered trauma from “perilous encounters with accused persons and their associates and families,” and they wanted to be assured their work was being conducted in a safe environment.
They listed several issues within the office including a steady increase in the number of murders and other complex matters over which the office of the DPP has conduct.
Despite the challenges and working with an under 50% staffing capacity, the staff pledged to continue doing their duties to the highest degree of professionalism, although they stated that many have fallen ill due to extreme stress.
In a radio interview last week, Gaspard said the DPP’s Office had 58 attorneys, including some with little or no court experience when the Office should be operating with at least 137 attorneys.
Gaspard was criticised by both Prime Minister Dr Rowley and Armour for his statements with Dr Rowley saying at a public meeting that millions of taxpayers’ dollars were being wasted on rent for an unused building.