Criminal Bar Association head: Gaspard right not to move into unsafe building

Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC -
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC -

THE new building that was leased for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard that has not been used since 2020 due to security concerns, is a stone’s throw away from another building that was vacated by the DPP due to the same issue.

The issue of the unoccupied building was raised last Thursday after the Prime Minister at a public meeting in Barataria said the State gave resources to the DPP in the form of the building, however, it was not used.

In 2020 the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) had a ceremonial handing-over of the $24 million, six-storey building located on the corner of Park and Henry Street. The building has floors allocated for the DPP’s executive secretariat, administrative and support units, processing units and units for indictment and vault usage. It was leased for roughly $7 million annually.

The delay in occupying the building was due to security concerns raised by the Special Branch which requested that the glass be bullet-proofed.

Prior to moving to Winsure Building, Richmond Street, the DPP’s office was located at Matco Building, Henry Street, a corner from the new building. The security concerns raised prior to the move was the proximity to East Port of Spain and the criminal activity associated with the area. The building also had health and safety issues such as rat infestation and a fire escape that led to a wall. The building now houses the Professional Standards Bureau of the police service.

President of the Criminal Bar Association Senior Counsel Israel Khan said the DPP and his staff should not occupy the building because of the security concerns raised by the Special Branch

The association met with Gaspard last week ahead of a scheduled meeting between Gaspard and Attorney General Reginald Armour on Wednesday which was initially scheduled for Tuesday.

Both men promised to speak more on the issue of staff shortage at the DPP’s office, the failure to use the building and other concerns and are expected to issue media releases following their meeting.

Khan said he could not divulge what was said at the meeting, however, the association will also be issuing a media release following the meeting between Gaspard and Armour.

Speaking on the issue of safety, Khan said: “He (Gaspard) can’t go in that building there, he is endangering his life. They (the Government) have to get better housing for him.”

He added that when the DPP’s office moved from Matco building amidst security and other concerns, criminals were not in possession of high powered rifles and that is why the security concerns should be taken seriously.

“His life is constantly in danger! Remember Dana Seetahal? She was killed (at the time of her murder she was a special prosecutor for the State.) They said I was next but I never really took them on.”


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