Baptiste for DPP
Evelina Baptiste is to become Dominica's Chief Prosecutor
Chief magistrate Evelina Baptiste has been chosen to fill the post of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Sun can report.
According to a well-placed source, Baptiste is expected to be confirmed in the post at the end of July when the three-month term of the acting DPP, Julian Prevost, ends. Prevost replaced Gene Pestaina, the substantive holder of that post who retired two months ago.
"They are now in the process of putting the necessary things in place to facilitate the process and as far as I am aware it's a done deal already," the source said.
Baptiste has served as Registrar of Dominica's High Court and also Registrar of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. Briefly, in 2004/2005, she held the position of acting DPP here and has been the island's chief magistrate for many years.
When contacted about the pending appointment, Baptiste did not deny or confirm the story.
"I am hearing things just like you; my staff have asked me about it and I am not in a position to say anything at the moment. Like everything you know it takes some time and if and when I am in a position to speak on the matter I will, but you can always try to speak to the people in the Ministry concerned," Baptiste stated.
Efforts at obtaining further confirmation on the matter from the office of the Attorney General were futile. But a lawyer who spoke to the SUN on the usual conditions of anonymity said Baptiste was "well placed for the job."
"I can tell you that she will do well in the job, she has held it before and did a very good job; so now is the time for them to appoint her and we expect her to like she has done on the Bench, dispense justice with impartiality and fairness," the lawyer stated.
"She will no longer be starting any new or fresh matters and she is presently working to dispense of matters which she started and to ensure all the knots are tied and that the process will be a smooth transition," the source disclosed.
Earlier this year, three persons were interviewed for the post and it was offered to Guyanese lawyer Paula Gilford who did not accept the terms and conditions of the job.
The DPP's post is enshrined in the Dominica Constitution under Section 88 which states: "The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission.
"If the office of Director of Public Prosecutions is vacant or if the holder of that office is for any reason unable to exercise the functions of his office, the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission, may appoint a person to act as Director."