Phillips accuses PM of fabricated comment
Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has described as “palpably false”, a comment made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness about the extension of tenure of the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn.
Section 96 of the Constitution states that a DPP’s tenure ends on reaching the age of 60.
Llewellyn, who will be 60 in September, is the first woman to hold the post of DPP and has served across four political administrations.
She will retain her post for another three years, despite objection from Phillips, who alleges that she has a “poor track record” on corruption prosecution.
In a media release on Thursday, Phillips said he had refrained from commenting on the matter, but recent developments, including comments made by Holness, compelled him to set the record straight.
“At no time did I say, as the prime minister stated, nor has anyone else speaking on my behalf said, that the appointment of a new director of public prosecutions should be withheld in order to facilitate a new administration, or any incoming government. Any suggestion in that regard is palpably false. That type of fabrication by the prime minister is totally unacceptable,” read a section of the release.
Phillips maintained that his views were confidentially communicated to the prime minister and the governor general, in keeping with his constitutional duty as opposition leader.
“In fact, a new administration would have no role in the appointment of a DPP since such an appointment is done by the Public Services Commission. It is only extensions of the tenure of the DPP that require consultation between the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition and in this instant case, that would have to be completed before September of this year. As there is no constitutional requirement that could enforce the calling of elections prior to September, such was never a consideration,” the PNP leader explained.
He further asserted that the exchange of letters between himself and Holness took place long before there were any of the current discussions about the DPP’s findings in relation to Lisa Hanna or any other member of parliament, as is being implied in some parts of the press.
“Every effort will be made under a PNP government to improve the architecture of accountability, so as to engender public trust and facilitate the inclusive economic growth that is the desire of all well-thinking Jamaicans,” Phillips concluded.