Brandt questions the appointment of new Attorney General

Veteran Attorney at Law David S. Brandt continues to argue for a position he promoted back in 2000 while he was Chief Minister of Montserrat.

The last time we recall he successfully argued for that to be exercised was at the retirement of Police Commissioner John Douglas. His position was that top positions in particular should be offered first to a Montserratian, then someone from the region before going elsewhere.

The policy was very much endorsed in 2012 when several positions became available when it was said that all jobs should be advertised with Montserratians having first option.  That became ‘law’ when persons were being hired to work at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC)

This week Mr. Brandt is calling on the powers that be to come out and announce the name of the new Attorney General for Montserrat. This so even after he said a non-national has been confirmed in the post.

It would be of interest to him as he is a lawyer still practising in Montserrat, he says it is for far too long the naming of the new Attorney General has been shrouded in secrecy. 

He spoke to ZJB News that it has been brought to his attention that despite the fact that Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney has been acting in that position for over a years. That as a matter of fact should have been for several years.

 Mr. Brandt says that for a whole year Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney has been advising the Government on civil matters and that it would be unfair to give the position to someone else.

“I would like to say it is not this government’s fault, because two of the three persons who sat on the interview board were foreigners, one from DFID and a foreigner working with the government,” he said. “Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney was here during the volcanic crisis. She suffered from ash. She had to deal with her young children, sometimes had to move. And here the opportunity comes to be confirmed as Attorney General.”

He points that there’s a rule in the civil service that you must not act for more than three months. “So if you act for more than three months you have the legitimate expectation that you would be appointed,” as he then notes, “when we confirm a foreigner whatever he or she learns she goes with it. Every Attorney General that has acted here in recent times have become judges of the High Court, if we do not promote our people then those who are in certain positions would have to wonder would I reach the top.”

It can be observed that the last Montserratian only a few years ago who was Attorney General in Montserrat on more than one occasion, Miss Esco Henry is now a judge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

TMR learnt that one of the criteria that was set for the post, seen as a definite point to keep her out, was that the candidate must have worked outside of Montserrat. This is seen as very ridiculous and invoked comments that there is something terribly wrong with the recruitment process in Montserrat. The argument being that the person who we understand (unofficially) is from Trinidad who has never worked in Montserrat (or could it be one of the persons brought in by FCO to work on some matters out of the AG’s office). In addition to the complexity of the matter, we learnt also that on more than one occasion as in this instance at least one of the applicants is working outside of Montserrat in an Overseas Territory, and that person was also overlooked.  Where is the sense the fairness?

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Veteran Attorney at Law David S. Brandt continues to argue for a position he promoted back in 2000 while he was Chief Minister of Montserrat.

The last time we recall he successfully argued for that to be exercised was at the retirement of Police Commissioner John Douglas. His position was that top positions in particular should be offered first to a Montserratian, then someone from the region before going elsewhere.

The policy was very much endorsed in 2012 when several positions became available when it was said that all jobs should be advertised with Montserratians having first option.  That became ‘law’ when persons were being hired to work at the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC)

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This week Mr. Brandt is calling on the powers that be to come out and announce the name of the new Attorney General for Montserrat. This so even after he said a non-national has been confirmed in the post.

It would be of interest to him as he is a lawyer still practising in Montserrat, he says it is for far too long the naming of the new Attorney General has been shrouded in secrecy. 

He spoke to ZJB News that it has been brought to his attention that despite the fact that Mrs. Sheree Jemmotte-Rodney has been acting in that position for over a years. That as a matter of fact should have been for several years.

 Mr. Brandt says that for a whole year Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney has been advising the Government on civil matters and that it would be unfair to give the position to someone else.

“I would like to say it is not this government’s fault, because two of the three persons who sat on the interview board were foreigners, one from DFID and a foreigner working with the government,” he said. “Mrs. Jemmotte-Rodney was here during the volcanic crisis. She suffered from ash. She had to deal with her young children, sometimes had to move. And here the opportunity comes to be confirmed as Attorney General.”

He points that there’s a rule in the civil service that you must not act for more than three months. “So if you act for more than three months you have the legitimate expectation that you would be appointed,” as he then notes, “when we confirm a foreigner whatever he or she learns she goes with it. Every Attorney General that has acted here in recent times have become judges of the High Court, if we do not promote our people then those who are in certain positions would have to wonder would I reach the top.”

It can be observed that the last Montserratian only a few years ago who was Attorney General in Montserrat on more than one occasion, Miss Esco Henry is now a judge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

TMR learnt that one of the criteria that was set for the post, seen as a definite point to keep her out, was that the candidate must have worked outside of Montserrat. This is seen as very ridiculous and invoked comments that there is something terribly wrong with the recruitment process in Montserrat. The argument being that the person who we understand (unofficially) is from Trinidad who has never worked in Montserrat (or could it be one of the persons brought in by FCO to work on some matters out of the AG’s office). In addition to the complexity of the matter, we learnt also that on more than one occasion as in this instance at least one of the applicants is working outside of Montserrat in an Overseas Territory, and that person was also overlooked.  Where is the sense the fairness?