Basseterre, St.Kitts (August 14th 2015):- The Contract of Former St.Kitts-Nevis Director of Public Prosecutions Travers Sinanan expired on July 15th 2015. That date ended a two year contract which began in 2013 and was signed and agreed to on August 9th 2013.
The issue of Sinanan’s contract became the focal point of public debate as the story unfolded regarding his employment after Opposition MP Hon. Marcella Liburd and Senator Nigel Carty suggested that the DPP was being victimized by the government .
Sinanan was born Dec 1957. Thus he was 55 when he received a contract which seems to fly in the face of the dictates of the consitution. Sec 81 (5) and (10) of the constitution states:
- (5) Subject to subsection (7), the Director of Public Prosecutions shall vacate his office when he attains the prescribed age.
- (10) The prescribed age for the purposes of subsection (5) is the age of fifty-five years or such other age as may be prescribed by Parliament:
Provided that any law enacted by Parliament, to the extent to which it alters the prescribed age after a person has been appointed to be or to act as Director of Public Prosecutions, shall not have effect in relation to that person unless he consents that it should have effect.
According to the DPP’s prescribed age act it states:
“CHAPTER 22.03 DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS (PRESCRIBED AGE)
AN ACT to make provision relating to the tenure of office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and to provide for related or incidental matters.
- Short title.
This Act may be cited as the Director of Public Prosecutions (Prescribed Age) Act.
- Tenure of office of Director of Public Prosecutions.
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law and subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the State, the Director of Public Prosecutions shall hold office until he or she attains the age of fifty-five years:
(a) he or she may at any time resign his or her office by writing under his or her hand addressed to the Governor-General; and
(b) the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Public Service Commission, may permit a Director of Public Prosecutions who has attained the age herein prescribed to continue in office until he or she has attained such later age, not exceeding sixty years, as may (before the Director of Public Prosecutions has attained the age of fifty-five years) have been agreed between them.
(2) Nothing done by the Director of Public Prosecutions shall be invalid by reason only that he or she has attained the age at which he or she is required by this section to vacate his or her office.”
The Constituion along with the accompanying DPP Prescribed Age Act both clearly dictates that the DPP should not be 55 unless before the age of 55 the government on request of the DPP considers and extension beyond the age of 55 until the age of 60. However this has to be done before the DPP reaches the age of 55. Sianan was given 2 YEAR contract and appointed as DPP when he was already 55.
Attonry General Vincent Byron told local media that the DPP’s two year contract ended on July 15 (2015) and has not been renewed. AG Byron explained that this was based on the constitutionally stipulated age of 55. He told St.Kitts Media House WINN FM “The previous DPP Mrs Pauline Hendrickson demitted office sometime in 2013 when she reached the age of 55, and Mr Sinanan was contracted by the previous government from July 15th 2013 on a contract for two years,” Attorney General Bryon told Winn FM. “At the time Mr Sinanan was 55 years old and today he is 57. His contract therefore terminated on the 15th of July 2015. He is out of contract and the Cabinet of the government of St Kitts and Nevis has decided not to renew his contract, that’s the basis of what has happened,” Byron explained.
Mr Sinanan has filed suit against Attorney General Byron for moving to terminate his contract. Attorney General Byron expressed agreement with the position held that the DPP’s office is a constitutional one. However AG Byron was sure to indicate that the government’s handling of the matter is not in breach of the constitution.
Reports indicate that Sianan had expressed concerns to the government regarding his safety in light of a recent murder case that he prosecuted. He had made a number of requests including extra security personnel as well as security paraphernalia including bullet proof vest and specially configured security vehicles.