Kamla: PM, CJ Gang Up against DPP

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‘Why would a chief justice jump in the gayelle in the political fray, on the ground in a ten page open public statement?’ – Kamla Persad-Bissessar

By Sue-Ann Wayow

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has slammed Chief Justice Ivor Archie for his recent statements  against Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC.

She said Archie has ganged up with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Attorney General Reginald Armour against Gaspard who has to date conducted all his duties with fairness and independence and who was “decent and honourable.”

Speaking at the United National Congress (UNC) on Monday night in St Helena, Persad-Bissessar said Gaspard has done nothing wrong by voicing the concerns of his office.


She said, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the thuggish, gangster-like attacks on DPP Gaspard – the highest offices in the land, they’re operating like thugs and gangsters!…I’m so distressed to see last weekend the high office of the Chief Justice jumping into the gayelle. Why are you engaging in that battle?!”

Last Friday, Archie blamed Gaspard for the staff shortage saying he (Gaspard) failed to submit names and  appraisals for prosecutors to be promoted and that he also failed to indicate the urgency needed to fill vacancies in his office.

She said the Chief Justice, as head of the judicial system, instead of  making public statements on social media, should have called in Gaspard to discuss the issues in a meeting as he is Gaspard’s only boss.


Persad-Bissessar said, “Why would a chief justice jump in the gayelle in the political fray, on the ground in a ten page open public statement? Why you didn’t call in the man and say DPP you have a constitutional office, I have a constitutional office, we appointed you, the JLSC appointed you. Hello! You have some problems? Let’s talk.

“Why issue a ten-page document out in the public domain all over the social media? Why? Two big men, why? Why now? Is that an important question too? This is not the first time the DPP has said that he had a staff shortage?”

The opposition leader said since 2014, the DPP’s office had been complaining of a staff shortage, adding that her administration had approved 129 lawyers for Gaspard’s department which he had also noted in his statements.

Persad-Bissessar asked Archie, “If since 2014 that department was understaffed, six/seven years later, why you now coming to explain all these things? Why? Did somebody tell you to do it? Is it payback time Chief Justice? Is it trump and follow suit that Rowley said it, Armour said it and you now jump in with two of them to back them up, trump and follow suit?”


Concerning the contentious building at Park Street in Port of Spain that is yet to be outfitted with special security requirements based on Special Branch’s recommendations, Persad-Bissessar asked both Dr Rowley and  Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher to say if there are multiple Special Branch reports on the building.

She also reminded supporters about the death of prosecutor senior counsel Dana Seetahal who was murdered adding that safety was of paramount importance to persons working in the DPP’s office.

“Why are the lawyers in the DPP’s Office leaving? Maybe they are not safe, they do not feel secure, they are overworked and overloaded,” Persad-Bissessar said.

She also said it was interesting that after the DPP discontinued high profile cases against Gerald Ramdeen and Anand Ramlogan, SC, and former prime minister Basdeo Panday and his wife, former government minister Carlos John and the others in the Piarco matters that “all of a sudden this DPP is the worst thing on earth.”

Persad-Bissessar said if Gaspard was being so unreasonable in not wanting to move into the building, then it should be made public what was recommended by the special branch and what was already done. 

“DPP Gaspard has clearly upset the political directorate and I have no doubt that there may well be a campaign to smear and slander this man as they have done with anybody else they could not control,” she said.

The Opposition Leader again stating that the People’s National (PNM) Movement had a history of undermining independent institutions mentioned the inauguration of President Christine Kangaloo earlier that day calling her a “puppet president.”

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“Look what happened today (Monday) – great big news in town – (Prime Minister Keith) Rowley has sworn in his puppet President today. Puppet President. So every institution he wants total control of. That has been their history, their playbook,”

Neither Persad-Bissessar nor any Opposition Member of Parliament attended the ceremony.


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