Thursday, January 18, 2018

Volney: Probe will vindicate Govt, me

'DPPs role will be revealed'

FORMER justice minister Herbert Volney says both he and the People's Partnership Government will be "totally vindicated" in the Section 34 fiasco.

However, he added that the "inaction" of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Roger Gaspard, will be highlighted when President George Maxwell Richards concludes his probe into the early proclamation of the controversial section.

An earlier investigation into the premature proclamation of Section 34 by acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith determined Volney was "responsible for matters relating to the passing and proclamation of the Act".

Volney was fired from the post of Justice Minister for misleading the Cabinet and was replaced by Christlyn Moore.

Asked to comment on the letter by Richards, Volney told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday:

"It will bring to the fore the inaction of the constitutional position of the Director of Public Prosecutions".

"The DPP has a constitutional duty to safeguard and to protect public interest prosecutions, and when the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice wrote him in February of this year in order to advise him that it was the intention of the ministry to proclaim the law, including Section 34, in June by mid-year and asked for an impacts assessment, a report on the impact Section 34 will have when proclaimed, he wrote back; he answered in May, saying that 47 persons would have benefitted," Volney said.

"In that 47 would have been the Piarco, the controversial ones; he did not at any time bring it to the attention either of the Attorney General or the Minister of Justice that if proclaimed, these prosecutions would have been affected, so he remained silent on it.

"He met me on no fewer than six occasions during that period and never brought it to my attention," he said.

Volney said Section 34 was proclaimed "timely" rather than early.

"When the law was eventually proclaimed, not early but timely, after that was done, he (Gaspard) then wrote a 19-page letter complaining," Volney said.

"Now, if he had done that one month before, this whole situation would not have arisen, and he refuses to answer the questions of why he sat on his laurels for nine months, and I have no doubt that the role of the DPP, through its inaction when he had a duty to act, will be uncovered, which is what I have been saying for some time," he said.

"It would be good if there is some time to probe because I know at the end of the probe, the Government, and that is including me at the time as part of the Government, will be totally vindicated," Volney said.