Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, says the country could be left embarrassed if the attrition rate at her office isn’t addressed.
She’s lamenting that her office is losing experienced prosecutors to the Bench and other areas.
Ms. Llewellyn is blaming poor salaries as the major factor driving people out of the Office. She was speaking during today’s sitting of parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC. She also drew the attention of parliamentarians to her salary compared to that of other public servants.
Ms. Lewellyn told the PAAC that in the last three years she’s lost 10 senior prosecutors to the bench.
This means they were promoted to Judges.
She says despite her office being entrenched in the Constitution, she earns far less than the heads of commissions of Parliament.
Ms. Llewellyn also noted the disparity between the powers and responsibilities of her office and those of a commission of parliament.
She says this makes the idea of moving on to the Bench very attractive for her senior members of staff.
She says when senior prosecutors resign, the loss of certain critical technical expertise could cause the country some embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the DPP today continued to lash out at policymakers for failing to properly address the country’s deteriorating court infrastructure over the last four decades.
Ms. Lewellyn blamed the inadequate attention to improving court infrastructure by successive administrations for the massive backlog of cases in the system.
According to Ms. Llewellyn successive governments have not allocated the necessary resources to the justice system as it isn’t ‘sexy’ enough.
She pointed to instances where cases are constantly put on hold due to a lack of courtrooms.
Ms. Llewelyn says what was needed approximately 40 years ago was a detailed plan which took into account increases in crime and population size.
This, after PAAC Chairman, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, responded to aspects of her complaints suggesting that certain outstation court facilities were being under-utilized.
The Permanent Secretary says the Justice Ministry received assistance from a retired New York Chief Justice in identifying measures to reduce the backlog in the courts. She says Jamaica is currently where New York was in 1975.