A PROSECUTOR in the Office of the Attorney General says her outspoken pursuit of money allegedly owed to her has put her job in jeopardy.
In September, The Tribune reported on a letter Darnell Dorsette sent Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, complaining that prosecutors and civil litigators have not been paid increments and salary increases consistent with the 2013 Industrial Agreement between the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) and the government.
That agreement, Ms Dorsette contends, should have resulted in prosecutors and civil litigators receiving “$800 at the beginning of September, 2017; $1200 in 2016; and two incremental payments on their base salaries in 2014.”
Administrative staff of the Attorney General’s office dispute this. Attorney General Carl Bethel told The Tribune yesterday that civil litigators are “not members of the broader public service.”
“She seems to be relying on the authority of the Wilbert Moss case as to whether or not a magistrate who is a judicial and legal officer is also a public officer,” he said. “That case said that in some cases a magistrate may well be a public officer but in other cases she is a judicial officer. Legal officers are only entitled to remunerations.”
Mr Bethel said under the Strachan Commission of 2015, prosecutors received payments in two tranches, a lump sum payment and a net increase in their salary.
Nonetheless, Ms Dorsette suggests that the consequence of her letter to Dr Minnis and its leak to The Tribune has been a sustained effort to victimize her.
Ms Dorsette, a senior prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office, said she received an ultimatum from Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle last week.
According to her, it said: ‘It is the very firm position of the administration of the office of the attorney general that either you resign and seek employment elsewhere where you will be rewarded much better than at the Attorney General’s Office or the Office of the Attorney General can re-deploy you somewhere else in the public service, but not as a legal officer.’
She said Mr Rolle also instructed her not to send any further material to Attorney General Carl Bethel on the matter, adding that Mr Bethel ‘wishes that she cease and desist sending him materials.’
‘The administration (of the Office of the Attorney General) takes offence to you making submissions because we are not inviting you to,” she claimed he said. “But if you feel we have breached your rights, you can resign.”
Mr Bethel was displeased with the public fight Ms Dorsette has picked, saying: “It’s most unworthy for one of our attorneys to be taking a matter like this out to the public. We will have to ask the directors to look into that; it’s an administrative matter.”
Ms Dorsette is also disappointed that she has not received a promotion to which she feels she is entitled. By now, she said yesterday, she and two other senior prosecutors in the OAG should have been promoted to Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.
“There is an undercurrent of frustration,” she said. “(Former Attorney General) Allyson Maynard Gibson was the one who said to us we’re doing an excellent job and our promotions are on the way. She gave administrators instructions to expedite our promotions, but it hasn’t happened.”