Gov’t justified in use of special prosecutors-Attorney General
GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, November 3, 2016
Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams said there is nothing wrong with the use of special prosecutors in high profile cases.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), today, Williams said, “This is something that is not unusual in Guyana, so I don’t know what the hue and cry is.”
The government has announced that it will be using special prosecutors after it concludes investigations into cases involving Pradoville 2, and Cricket World Cup among others.
The Attorney General told GINA that Cabinet examined the matter to ensure that, “we could identify people to prosecute these cases, people with competence” after staff from the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) Office indicated they were uncomfortable with prosecuting these matters.
“They have suggested that they are political cases and some indicated they might have known the minister, but largely because it is a political nature,” were the reasons given by DPP staff, AG Williams explained.
The Attorney General added that while it is the state prosecutor’s job to defend matters, the government has an interest in protecting state assets and ensuring that action is taken against those involved in corrupt practices. “If they are employed as state counsel, they have a duty to discharge their state responsibilities but…we don’t want people whose heart is not in it to mess up the prosecutions,” AG Williams said.
Special prosecutors have already been tapped to deal with these cases, the minister stated. “We have identified people that are known, and if we have to bring in special prosecutors from abroad, we will do so,” the Attorney General said.
The government is being guided by the constitution, the Attorney General noted. The selection of the prosecutors is only one aspect of the matter, AG Williams pointed out. “The important thing is to have an impartial judge or magistrate in these cases and of course anyone charged has a right to have a defence counsel of their choice,” AG Williams added.
The AG told GINA he does not foresee the DPP having any problems issuing fiats, granting permission for the use of special prosecutors. A fiat is a short order or warrant of a judge or magistrate directing some act to be done; an authority issuing from some competent source for undertaking of some legal act.