Nothing unconstitutional about special prosecutors; PPP govt used it too- Trotman

Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2016, 10:12 by Denis Chabrol

Attorney-at-Law and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman on Friday lashed back at the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) Gail Teixeira over her criticism of government’s moves to hire special prosecutors to help secure convictions against suspected pilferers of state assets.

“There is nothing unique about Special Prosecutors in Guyana and throughout the Commonwealth,” she said. “The previous government utilized the services of (Attorney-at-Law Anil) Nandlall with great effect and there is irregular or unconstitutional about it,” he added.

Trotman noted that Nandlall had been hired as a Special Prosecutor. “The nation has not forgotten when Nandlall led a team to prosecute Mark Benschop and others so all of a sudden this is unconstitutional but when they were doing it, it was unconstitutional,”  Trotman told Demerara Waves Online News.

He denied Teixeira’s claims of the impending formation of Special Prosecutors Unit. He explained that all that is required is for an application to be made to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for her Chambers’ duties to be delegated to a selected lawyer as a prosecutor for a particular case.

Teixeira, who is the opposition’s parliamentary Chief Whip, has said that the move to establish what she termed a “Special Prosecutions Unit” would violate the constitutional role of the DPP and the Guyana Police Force.

She has claimed that the “Special Prosecutions Unit” would be an addition the centrally directed Ministry of the Presidency-driven State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU) and the Special Organised Crime Unit to witch-hunt political opponents.

SOCU’s protocols have been recently included in the Guyana Police Force’s Standing Order.

Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams have been tasked by Cabinet to craft recommendations for hiring the special prosecutors.