Guyana’s DPP Office in Need of Makeover

Shalimar Ali-Hack

Guyana’s DPP Shalimar Ali Hack – Photo courtesy kaieteurnewsonline.com

I read this:

THE CHAMBERS OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS Institution’s Objectives, Functions & Structure The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is a constitutional office which plays a vital role in the administration of justice in criminal causes or matters. The DPP is the sole Authority vested with the power and responsibility to exercise control over the prosecution of all criminal matters except the institution of a Court‐Martial. Functions of the DPP’s Chambers: The functions of the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions are set out under Article 187 of the Constitution of Guyana; these are: 1. To institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before a Court of Law, other than a Court‐Martial, in respect of any offence that contravenes the Laws of Guyana 2. To take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or Authority 3.

To discontinue at any stage before any judgement is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by her or any other person or Authority According to the said Article 187, the powers conferred on the Director of Public Prosecutions are vested in her to the exclusion of any other person or authority and the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or Authority. In carrying out these functions the major activities of the Director of Public Prosecutions are to give legal advice and to appear in Court “to discharge in accordance with the Constitution of Guyana, the obligation to ensure that all criminal matters are dealt with in a fair, impartial and efficient manner”

Legal Structure of The DPP’s Chambers No. Designation Amount 1. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) 1 2. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP) 1 3. Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP) 5 4. Senior State Counsel 6 5. State Counsel 10 6. Police Prosecutors 3 7. Legal Assistants 3 Besides the lawyers who are employed at the Chambers, there are 3 Legal Assistants and 3 Police Prosecutors from the Guyana Police Force.
http://www.oas.org/juridico/pdfs/mesicic4_guy_dpp.pdf

Then I read this:

DPP denies being pressured
July 30, 2015 By GuyanaTimes

In light of allegations made by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, in a media release, maintained that she was not pressured into recommending charges against former Public Service Minister Dr Jennifer Westford. The DPP recommended that criminal charges be brought against Westford for allegedly illegally attempting to transfer several Government vehicles into her name.

However, the PPP/C opposition, in what appears to be an attempt to defend Westford, hit back with claims that the DPP was pressured to advise charges be instituted against the former Minister. But the DPP did not take lightly to those claims. In response to these allegations, Ali-Hack strongly affirmed that all legal advice given to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in relation to criminal matters was based on statements contained in the files and the law. http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/2015/07/30/dpp-denies-being-pressured/

I, also, read this:

The new Government has managed to retrieve almost $10B lying in “old” bank accounts, a senior Government official confirmed yesterday. In the past weeks, the Ministry of Finance and its departments have been conducting exercises to determine the state of the country’s finances.It is unclearwhy the previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government kept that amount of money lying around in virtually unused accounts.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan admitted, yesterday, that the “old” accounts could have potentially been open to fraud. As a result the monies were transferred.
According to Minister Winston Jordan, the sum is estimated to be between $8B and$10B.

The issue of public funds not being deposited in the treasury has been raised over time by the coalition Government when it was in Opposition. Financial analysts have argued that billions of dollars belonging to taxpayers were not captured in recent national budgets, in essence robbing Guyanese.

Govt. retrieves almost $10B from disused bank accounts

And, this:

Alexei Ramotar sent on leave – Harmon
JULY 18, 2015 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
To facilitate an investigation into the financial arrangements of the E-Governance Project, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, yesterday instructed that the head of the initiative, Alexei Ramotar, be sent on administrative leave with immediate effect.
According to Harmon, this move is to ensure proper facilitation of these investigations.
Earlier this month, Harmon and a team visited the project after which he passed on instructions for Government’s Advisor on E-Governance Floyd Levi, to “work closely” with Ramotar and the project.

Alexei Ramotar sent on leave – Harmon

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson today announced that he has sent the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Administration) of the Guyana Power & Light on leave after it was discovered that he paid himself some $27 million of the company’s money.

Now, since we’ve had an average of one major felony committed within every Ministry during the previous Administration, and we’re aware that volume of crime, especially with the added weight of government officials, is greater than the DPP is capable of handling expediently, could it be that there is urgent need to revise this structure so that the Public Prosecutor’s office could actually prosecute? Is there an emergency threshold that could necessitate the revision of whatever statute governs the much needed boost to personnel in this agency?

We know that the general practice is for files to be sent to the DPP for advice on what charges should be filed but with public official purloining reaching epidemic levels how many files can they realistically review? And, did I mention that timely prosecution is of essence for justice, so that, the same way we see the unparallel swiftness of arrest, indictment and incarceration of the purse snatcher we look for the same efficiency when the crime and booty are at a the white collar level?

As victims, we’re contented that the Administration has identified the crook and the crime. But that’s just a faction of the justice and reparation that we seek.

Surely, they’re not waiting for the Director, Shalimar Ali Hack, to say that she needs help in reviewing the files of the Ministers under the government that she is reputed to have had, shall we say, a relationship that was prejudicial the outcomes of many a case? Are waiting on this woman whose purview of the law deemed prosecution unwarranted in the cases listed below?

Nyeem Nasir of Bakewell accused of drug smuggling
Johsua Safeek of the Polar Beer scam, and Guyflag scam
Sheik Aleem Samad for defrauding people in a visa scam and kidnapping Nathoo’s daughter
Roger Khan- needs no introduction
Saleem Azeez acqua farm cocaine king
Reaz Khan for drug smuggling and under age cavorting
Khan of discount Store REgent street- drug smuggling
Surely, the new Administration hasn’t forgotten that finding no prosecutorial merit in cases that are glaringly felonious is Ms. Ali Hack’s signature,.
She has also complained that there is a disproportionality of worker to work load in her office.
Ms. Ali Hack is right this time.
In anticipation of justified prosecution, it is now necessary to bring the worker/load ratio to par if not above.

And, to follow the equation mathematically, with the increased ratio of prosecutor to workload in the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, there should be a proportional increase in the cells in the prison system to accommodate the increase in population that will be a direct correlation to the increase in man hours devoted to expediting the prosecution of these crimes.

Veriane Mentis- BarkerBy Verianne Mentis-Barker

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