Bahamas News

BAHAMAS: Prime Minister’s Remarks at Swearing In of Independent Director of Public Prosecutions

#Nassau, June 13, 2018 – Bahamas

Remarks

Dr. The Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, MP

Prime Minister Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Confirmation of the Independent, Director of Public Prosecutions  

Monday, 11 June, 2018

Nassau, Bahamas

 

 

  • Your Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General,
  • Cabinet Colleagues,
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,
  • Good Morning,

 

Today marks an important advancement in good governance and democracy in our Bahamas.  It is an important day in the creation of a more civil society.   It also marks another fulfillment of a promise made to the Bahamian People during the last campaign.

Today, we witness the very first successfully implemented amendment to our Nation’s Constitution, with the confirmation of Mr. Garvin Gaskin, in the new Constitutional Office of this Nation’s first Independent, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr. Gaskin was, prior to this day, a Public Legal Officer serving in the public service post of Director of Public Prosecutions; however, as a consequence of the deeming provisions in the Constitutional Amendment Act, passed earlier this year by Parliament, Mr. Gaskin is now about to be confirmed in a new high Constitutional Office, of the Independent Director of Public Prosecutions, created under Article 78B of the Constitution, for the period of five (5) years.

Mr. Gaskin graduated from the University of the West Indies, and the Norman Manley Law School of Law in 1995.  He has had a long and distinguished career as a public prosecutor, having joined the Office of the Attorney General in 1996, after a short stint in private practice.  Since then he has risen through the ranks, earning a reputation as a highly competent and effective prosecutor before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and the Privy Council.

Since 2015 Mr. Gaskin was appointed as the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions upon the departure of the former office holder, Mrs. Vinette Graham-Allen, and he was confirmed in his post in early 2016.

The establishment of a constitutionally protected office of an Independent Public Prosecutor is a praiseworthy achievement for Bahamian democracy, as it has the potential to mark a clear break with the past.

Historically, all too often, there have been instances where public criticism and even parliamentary dissension arose in consequence of what some might have viewed, as the commencement of certain prosecutions for offences, such a sedition, or criminal libel, in highly politically-charged circumstances; or the discontinuance of prosecutions by way of nolles prosequis, issued by former Attorneys-General, in circumstances which were considered to be ethically or politically questionable.

Hopefully, those days where persons, even ill-disposed persons, could credibly suggest some kind of political influence over the commencement, or conduct of public prosecutions, will now be over!   Hopefully, any suggestion of political influence, over prosecutions by the Executive arm of government, will now be a thing of the past.

Certainly, the Constitution of The Bahamas now requires that any policy directives given by the Attorney-General to the Director of Public Prosecutions must be in writing and published in the Gazette for all to see.

I wish to publicly congratulate Mr. Gaskin upon his elevation to this Constitutional Office, and I wish him, his Wife Odia, and his three Children well.

Thank you.

 

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