Attorney General Carl Bethel.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday defended recent promotions in his office as “transparent and defensible” as disgruntled senior attorneys consider launching a judicial review over the process.
Mr Bethel responded to reports of growing discord over the confirmation of two retired police officers to the posts of assistant director of public prosecutions, telling The Tribune “the higher up you go, the less easy it is to have social promotion”.
“At the end of the day,” Mr Bethel said, “judgments have to be made between many contenders for very few spots. The higher up to the totem you go in any ministry, but particularly the Attorney General’s Office, there are a limited number of posts and many persons who view themselves as qualified.
“There are no personalities involved, judgments are made,” Mr Bethel continued. “Some MPs get elected, not everyone makes it to Cabinet.”
Anonymous sources informed this newspaper recently that a number of senior civil litigation attorneys, including several chief counsel at the Office of The Attorney General, received “supersession letters” informing them that they will be superseded or overlooked for promotion to the position of assistant director of public prosecutions by two retired police officers.
Those letters reportedly do not state on what basis the senior civil litigation attorneys are being superseded by the retired cops, according to the source, which noted this was required under the Ministry of Public Services’ General Orders.
“As a result of this apparent breach of natural justice by the Office of the Attorney General/Director of Public Prosecutions Office,” the source said, “they may have no other recourse this time than to make a judicial review application before the Supreme Court in order to secure their rightful positions as senior civil litigation attorneys/prosecutor.”
Yesterday, Mr Bethel explained recommendations were put forward by department heads to the public service department and then the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.
He noted the JLSC conducts a qualitative assessment and has the ability to reject recommendations.
Mr Bethel maintained all considerations were transparent and fair to his knowledge, adding he was not involved in the decision-making process.
“There are many either active service police or defence force officers who get law degrees or even retired ones who are brought in and work their way up the pipeline. They are entitled as anyone else to have a fair assessment of their suitability or aptitude.”
He continued: “When you are having to deal with having to choose two or three from a pool of 30, it’s just the reality of the public service, you can’t just have social promotion.
“I didn’t make those judgments, the respective heads of department made those judgments.
“I only assured myself they were operating on a transparent and fair basis.”