Executive office for DPP unoccupied for 3 years

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

DPP Roger Gaspard, SC. FILE PHOTO –

WHILE not responding directly to public complaints by DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, earlier this week of an acute lack of prosecuting attorneys, the Prime Minister revealed on Thursday night that executive offices sourced by Government for the DPP’s Office remain unoccupied.

Speaking at the PNM public meeting at the Barataria Community Centre, Dr Rowley acknowledged Gaspard’s complaints that things are not going well in the DPP’s Office.

Gaspard complained on Wednesday, during an interview on a radio station, of “acute and chronic” staff shortage in his office which affected the ability to prosecute case at every court in the country.

He revealed his office has 58 attorneys, including some with little to no actual court experience, despite a Cabinet note of 2013, which proposed 137 attorneys for the DPP’s Office.

One day later, at the PNM meeting, Rowley weighed in on Gaspard’s public complaints.

“You want to know what’s happening with the DPP’s Office. He too has complaints, that things aren’t going well. None of us in this country have all that we need. But you got to make the most with what you have.”

Saying people will ask what is Government doing, especially in the face of complaints from the DPP’s Office of “not enough lawyers, not enough lawyers,” Rowley said:

“I as head of the Government, I remember it being said, the DPP doesn’t have space to put its lawyers. What did the Cabinet do, understanding that that office is an independent office.

“The most the Government can do is make available the resources that are available and affordable. The government went and found executive offices for the DPP over three years now.

“After three years of finding executive offices for the DPP…not a footstep inside those offices.”

Rowley revealed that Government was paying millions for these offices since it was bound by a three-year contract.

“We paying millions of dollars in rent…you come and telling me executive offices for a bank is not good enough for the DPP’s Office. Between the DPP’s Office and police Special Branch something went on there.”

He revealed that a request for bullet-proof glass was made and was provided. Then came a request for a wall in front of the bullet-proof glass. “The landlord said ‘no, don’t interfere with my building.’ This is the kind of nonsense going on in this country and it is easy to blame the government,” he said.

The building the PM referred to was once the head office of RBC (Royal Bank of Canada), located on the corner of Park and Henry streets, Port of Spain.