Court begins hearing arguments challenging extension of DPP's tenure

ATTORNEYS representing the People's National Party (PNP) on Monday outlined in the Civil Division of the Supreme Court in Kingston the basis of a lawsuit filed by two executive members of the party against the Government's extension of the tenure of the director of public prosecutions.

The suit is contesting the July amendment to the constitution which which allows Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn to remain in office for an additional two years.

The PNP executive members — Member of Parliament Phillip Paulwell and Senator Peter Bunting — have argued that Llewellyn's tenure should not extend beyond September 2023, when her extension which had been granted in 2020, was to have ended.

The PNP members claim is that the amendment to the constitution was done for the wrong reasons and are seeking to have the amendment struck out as unconstitutional, null and void.

The PNP is also seeking to have a declaration that the move circumvented, undermined and/or contradicted the constitutionally mandated process.

Based on the amendment, the auditor general's and the DPP's retirement age has moved to 65 from 60.

"One of the grounds on which the claim is advanced is the separation of powers. There is a well established principle that the constitution grants powers to specified persons and other persons cannot exercise those powers. The power to extend the term of office is vested in the executive branch of the Government, the governor general, the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition," said attorney Kevin Powell, one of the lawyers representing the PNP.

The PNP is also being represented by Michael Hylton, KC; Duane Allen; and Timera Mason.

The Attorney General is the defendant in the suit and the Government is being represented by Allan Wood, KC; Ransford Braham, KC, Neco Pagon; and Kathryn Williams.

Judges Sonya Wint, Simone Wolfe Reece and Tricia Hutchinson Shelly are presiding over the four-day proceedings.

The matter continues today, November 21, when the attorneys representing the Government will outline their case.

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter

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