Premier disappointed by DPP appointment

On January 6, 2015, in News, by Site Admin



Michael Dunkley expressed his disappointment last night after Rory Field, the English barrister, was reappointed as the Island’s top prosecutor.

Mr Field was yesterday given another two years as Director of Public Prosecutions by Governor George Fergusson — despite previous commitments to try to find a Bermudian to fill the job.

The Premier “strongly expressed” his concern to Mr Fergusson and vowed to raise the appointment with British MP James Duddridge, who is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office junior minister with responsibility for the British Overseas Territories.

A spokeswoman for the Premier said: “Naturally, the Premier is disappointed that a suitably qualified Bermudian has not been appointed.

“After expressing every intention to appoint a Bermudian DPP in 2007, 2010, and 2013, it is most unfortunate that the process adopted by Government House appears unable to make these intentions a reality.

The spokeswoman added that Mr Dunkley was expected to “re-emphasise the Government’s position that suitably qualified Bermudians be properly considered and where appropriate appointed to these important Constitutional posts” to Mr Duddridge.

Mr Field, who first took up the post in Septemner 2007, was reappointed in 2010, with the intention that he would be replaced by a Bermudian.

It was expected that Cindy Clarke, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, would take over the job in 2013, but Mr Field’s contract was extended for another year, sparking controversy among the legal profession.

Craig Cannonier, the Premier at the time, expressed his “serious concern” about the reappointment of a non-Bermudian. Mr Cannonier told the House of Assembly that he believed a qualified Bermudian had applied for the job and should have been appointed.

Ms Clarke is understood to have been the only candidate in a 2013 appointment process, which was headed by the Deputy Governor to advise Mr Fergusson on the appointment. The panel recommended that Ms Clarke should be appointed “subject to a suggested transitional period”.

But a Government House spokesman said that “in light of certain subsequent developments, it became untenable for the appointment to proceed”.

Mr Fergusson said: “I would intend to try to appoint a Bermudian candidate, if possible and subject to the advice of an independent panel. But, like judicial posts, this is not a job which should or will be filled according to political or other pressures.”

Government House said yesterday that the latest reappointment was made on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Committee.

“Mr Field has made significant achievements during his tenure in the role of DPP to date, from which Bermuda has benefited,” Mr Fergusson said. “I very much welcome his reappointment and look forward to his further contributions over the next two years. I am grateful to the Judicial and Legal Services Committee for its work.”

The Governor declined last night to comment on Mr Dunkley’s statement, while Justin Williams, president of the Bermuda Bar Association, steered clear of the row.

But Mr Williams said: “The appointment of the DPP has become a highly fraught process. The Governor has now made the appointment to this very important office and the Bar Council collectively will now support the work of that office, which, in these difficult times, needs ours and the community’s support.”

Before his initial appointment as DPP, Mr Field served as the legal adviser on organised crime to the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Mission to Serbia and later as DPP in Belize.


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