The two JLSC appointees rejected in succession were Acting DPP Carla Brown-Antoine and, more recently, Deputy DPP Roger Gaspard, well-placed legal sources said yesterday.
Newsday understands Manning vetoed the appointment of Brown-Antoine for the substantive post before it was announced that she had been offered the plum post of a High Court judge by the JLSC in August.
The Prime Minister had previously vetoed Brown-Antoine’s appointment to serve as the Acting DPP under Section 111 of the Constitution, a move which provoked controversy in February of this year when it emerged.
Under the Constitution, the Prime Minister can veto the JLSC’s choice for an acting or substantive DPP, however, the Prime Minister has no such power to veto the JLSC’s appointment of a judge. Under Section 104 of the Constitution, judges are appointed by the President, “acting in accordance with” the advice of the JLSC.
It is understood that after Manning’s rejection of Brown-Antoine for the substantive post, the JLSC next put forward Gaspard. However, Manning also reportedly vetoed Gaspard’s appointment.
Gaspard, who has served at the Office of the DPP as a prosecutor for 18 years, is also a former DPP of St Vincent and the Grenadines. He served in that post from 2001 to 2003 under prime minister Ralph Gonsalves. More recently, Gaspard was the prosecutor in the Monos Island drug bust case, this country’s largest drug trafficking prosecution which resulted in the imprisonment of six men in May last year.
It is expected that concerns over who will be announced for the post of DPP will intensify in the coming week with the opening of the law term carded for next Wednesday.
Brown-Antoine is expected to be sworn in by President George Maxwell Richards the day after, on Thursday, alongside other appointees to the bench, including temporary judges Andre Mondesir and Ronnie Boodoosingh.
With the Prime Minister’s rejection of Gaspard for the substantive post of DPP, it remains open for Gaspard to be appointed to act in the position instead, as he was rumoured to this week.
It is understood that there were three applicants for the post of DPP: Browne-Antoine, Gaspard and another prosecutor in the Office of the DPP Wayne Rajbansie.
Sources yesterday raised the possibility the post may shift to Rajbansie, who has worked at the Office of the DPP for 12 years and was the least senior of all three applicants. sources yesterday also raised the possibility that the post of DPP may have to be re-advertised by the JLSC.
The last substantive DPP, Geoffrey Henderson, was made High Court judge in January of this year. Several names have, over the last few months, been thrown into the ring for possible contenders for the key post.
Attorney Norton Jack was at one stage rumoured to be the Government’s choice. So much so that at a closed-door meeting of the Law Association held at the Hall of Justice on July 1, Jack was forced to declare he had not applied for the post.