Space crisis at DPP’s office

Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 09:30

There is a space cri­sis at the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) and as a re­sult, va­can­cies can­not be ful­filled at this time.

This was yes­ter­day dis­closed dur­ing the sit­ting of the Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee (JSC) of the Par­lia­ment on Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty.

JSC mem­ber Ger­ard Ramdeen asked to clar­i­fy how many va­can­cies have been iden­ti­fied. He said based on in­for­ma­tion giv­en by the DPP in a let­ter dat­ed Au­gust 2018 iden­ti­fied 74 – the sanc­tioned strength 120, which he said rep­re­sents 56 per cent va­can­cies.

How­ev­er, Prab­hawaite Maraj, Di­rec­tor of Per­son­nel Ad­min­is­tra­tion cor­rect­ed Ramdeen iden­ti­fy­ing 73 va­can­cies at the Port-of-Spain of­fice.

She not­ed that they have been ready to fill most of the va­can­cies but was con­tact­ed twice by the DPP, the lat­est on Oc­to­ber 29, in­struct­ing them to “put a hold.”

“Be­cause the DPP in­di­cat­ed that there was no space to ac­com­mo­date ex­tra staff,” Maraj said.

It was al­so dis­closed dur­ing the JSC that there are five va­can­cies for the post of State Se­nior Coun­sel (SSC) I and 38 for SSC II. Maraj said these po­si­tions can be filled via rec­om­men­da­tions by the DPP “so long meet re­quire­ments out­lined in job de­scrip­tions for of­fice.”

Maraj added that there were 25 va­can­cies for SSC II’s in 2015 and 13 can­di­dates have been ap­point­ed. She not­ed that she is yet to re­ceive rec­om­men­da­tions from the DPP.

With re­spect to the DPP’s of­fice in To­ba­go, they are cur­rent­ly screen­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

JSC mem­ber Robert Le Hunte ques­tioned if there are any peo­ple act­ing in these po­si­tions, to which the deputy Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Di­anne George-Thomas replied: “No.”

The ques­tion was put to Maraj as to why there aren’t any pro­mo­tions from with­in to fill some of the va­can­cies and that would not war­rant ad­di­tion­al of­fice space, she ex­plained that ap­praisals were need­ed which are usu­al­ly done three months be­fore a year ends. She al­so gave an ex­am­ple that SSC’s I need to have ap­praisals done by their su­per­vi­sors quar­ter­ly and added that they are on­ly privy to the fi­nal re­port.

In ad­dress­ing the of­fice space is­sue, JSC mem­ber Dr Roodal Mooni­lal asked if a build­ing has been iden­ti­fied for the Port-of-Spain of­fice, to which he was told “yes” at 19-21 Park Street.

How soon they would be able to move in, he was told that there needs to be work done be­fore oc­cu­pan­cy and no time frame giv­en.

JSC Chair­man Fitzger­ald Hinds and mem­ber Paul Richards both ex­pressed their sen­ti­ments of “Frus­tra­tion.”

Hinds said he thought that it was ei­ther the sys­tem is too slow in hir­ing and pro­cess­ing and as­sess­ing ap­praisals for the fill­ing of va­can­cies and added that in the long run it ad­verse­ly af­fects the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

How­ev­er, Maraj in­sist­ed that there were process­es to fol­low un­der Reg­u­la­tion 13.

Reporter: Rhondor Dowlat