Victory for Elwood Watts?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

While I am extremely happy that Mr. Elwood Watts has prevailed against the injustice that is inherent in the Public Service: I am concerned that the resolution of this matter would create another set of problems.

I have no more knowledge of the facts of the case than what I have read in reports in the Nation. However, it is my view that the outcome flies in the face of the very same principle that Mr. Watts was seeking to address. My understanding is that the Chief Personnel Officer through her lawyer informed the court that Mr. Watts would be appointed Senior Crown Counsel. That decision might please an extremely hardworking and deserving Elwood Watts but also, it would let others off the hook for their roles in this shameful affair.

My first concern is how did the recommendation, for the original appointment, reach the Governor-General without first going through the mandatory procedure set out in the Recruitment and Employment Code for the Public Service. The code, at paragraph 2 states:

Continue reading

Acting Crown Counsel Elwood Watts Asks High Court to Block the Appointment of Attorney at Law Alison Burke

Chief Justice Marston Gibson, heads the Judicial and Legal Services Commission

The following extracted from the Sunday Sun September 23, 2012:

“A High Court is being asked to block the appointment of a Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an unprecedented legal development, attorney at law Elwood Watts, who acted as Crown Counsel in the DPP’s office for the past six years, is seeking an injunction against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Marston Gibson and includes Appeal Court Justice Sandra Mason and High Court Justice Maureen Crane-Scott.

Attorney at law Alison Burke, who was recently admitted to the Bar, was to take up the permanent appointment as Crown Counsel effective September 1. But in his court filings challenging the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to ratify Burke’s appointment, Watts has complained that the position of Crown Counsel was never advertised as required by law. As a result, the former police sergeant who has been on secondment to the DPP’s office, said he never had a chance to secure the appointment.

Reports indicated that Burke, who was attached to the Ministry of Health as a staff nurse prior to her appointment, never had any experience in court proceedings. A date is to be set for hearing of the injunction.”

Continue reading