Minister Addresses Concerns of Crown Counsels Regarding Low Wages
The Minister of Police says he has met with prosecutors from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to address some of their concerns. Eleven Crown Counsels have written to the Attorney General to lobby against their low wages. In February 2023, the Ministry of Finance issued a circular, noting that the Chief Justice’s salary was being upped to 240 thousand annually, and the President of the Court of Appeal would be increased to 200 thousand annually. Additionally, the Justices of Appeal would be raised to 180 thousand dollars annually despite only having meetings some three times annually. The Crown Counsels claim that persons in entry-level positions like Judicial Research Assistants are being paid more than them and say they deserve more. Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa says that he has met with some of the prosecutors on the issue of security.
Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “Myself and Commissioner met with one of those prosecutors that had concerns and we did address the threats that they were feeling in terms of providing adequate security for them at the DPP’s office. I believe it was two officers that we placed after our meeting at the DPP’s office. So we are addressing it from a security standpoint for the DPP’s office. I cannot speak in terms of their request to the AG for a salary increase. I’m not privy to that discussion that the AG is having. But merely from a security standpoint, we did meet with one of the prosecutors and offered security at the DPP’s office.”
Reporter: So that actually confirms what they’re saying ?
Hon. Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “No, well, it wasn’t threats it was fear. So obviously they are involved in the profession of prosecuting criminals and so it is only natural that you would have a sense of fear and so we felt the need to allay those fears and to provide the security necessary for them at the office.”
The letter was also sent to Minister of Public Service, Henry Charles Usher, who stated that he has read the letter and is looking into the matter.
Hon. Henry Charles Usher, Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional Reform and Political Reform: “I have had an opportunity to read the letter. There are currently three commissions that govern the different public officers. You have the Public Service Commission, you have the Security Services Commission, you have the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. When it comes to legal officers, it’s the Judicial and Legal Services Commission that deals with their terms and conditions, but of course they have to consult with the Ministry of Public Service and also with the Ministry of Finance. For instance the GLSC can’t just decide we’re going to pay all Crown Councils X amount in salary and then the budget is not there to pay them. So I think there has to be proper consultation when we’re looking at the legal officer’s salaries so that we can determine what is affordable as a country and also can determine – because you don’t want to lose Crown Councils, you don’t want to lose judges, you don’t want to lose magistrates because they can make more in the private sector. But at the same time there are budgetary constraints that you have to look at.”