Make State Prosecutors’ Salaries Same as Private Attorneys

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By Prior Beharry

THE announcement by Dr Keith Rowley about the hiring of foreign lawyers to staff the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) may be an attempt to prosecute his political opponents.

This is the view of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a statement on Friday. She also called for making the salaries of private prosecutors on par with those in private practice.

On Thursday, Dr Rowley announced that he has instructed Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, to look at bringing in experienced lawyers from other Caribbean islands to help fill the vacancies in the Office of the DPP.

Persad-Bissessar asked if the appointment of prosecutors was done by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC), a supposedly independent service commission?

She said, “This is a signal that Rowley wants to inject into the DPPs chambers a PNM private army of hand-picked foreign lawyers to prosecute political opponents?

“What about making the salaries of career prosecutors on par with those in private practice?

“That money will be better spent on our own lawyers than on high-priced foreign lawyers who will come here on contract, on a working holiday in the sunny Caribbean and willing to do the bidding of whoever approves their contract fees and renewals.”

She said, “They talk about completing the circle of independence with Caribbean judges and the CCJ. They want a so-called Caribbean Jurisprudence.

“They say the Privy Council is foreign and out of touch and expensive. Yet, they want to pay foreigners from all over the commonwealth who may not even understand our local dialect or society to prosecute people, rather than train up and pay our local lawyers properly.

“What have they done to provide scholarships to deserving Police Prosecutors to be qualified as prosecutors who can then work in DPP’s Office.”


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