Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 29, 2015 (SKNIS)—Persons wanting to know how much money former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Travers Sinanan, was requesting from the Government can access this information via the court according to Attorney General, Honourable Vincent Byron Jr., during a broadcast of “Working For You” on Wednesday (November 25).
The attorney general was responding to a question from a caller who asked why the Government did not disclose the payout to Mr. Sinanan in the interest of freedom of information. But Minister Byron said that Mr. Sinanan’s annual salary was public information and that his payout demands when he was dismissed by the Government earlier this year cannot exceed a certain amount.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis reached a settlement in the case against former Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Travers Sinanan on September 21. The case involved a challenge brought by Mr. Sinanan, that although his contract with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis came to an end on July 14, 2015, he had a right to continue in office because he had security of tenure under the Constitution; he asked for a number of declarations along that line.
“Mr. Sinanan filed a case in court. This is a public document. And any journalist, any citizen could have gone to the court and had access to what Mr. Sinanan was asking for. In his claim, Mr. Sinanan said how much he worked for; his contract was filed,” the attorney general said. “In the court case also was a response from the attorney general in the case explaining it. No one, as far as I know saw the documents. These were public documents. (Do) you need a Freedom of Information Bill for that? All it needed was a $5 stamp (and) you get access to the file to see what he asked for.”
He disclosed that Mr. Sinanan, who is 57 years old, was not allowed to work beyond the age of 55 according to the law. Mr. Byron further explained that at a salary of $120,000 a year, the former DPP was requesting a three-year contract extension as he interpreted the law to mean he could work an additional three years. Without disclosing any further information, due to the gag order agreed to by both the Government and Mr. Sinanan, the attorney general said that Mr. Sinanan would have earned $360,000 over the three-year period. He said though, based on this information, the former DPP cannot earn more than $360,000. He also categorically dismissed figures being rumored that the payout amounted to $5 million.
In the meantime, Minister Byron explained the rationale to settle with Mr. Sinanan, rather than allowing the case to drag on possibly delaying the criminal assizes in September.
“We said he had no case, but there is a reason which we said why we appeared to get it off the books as quickly as possible. On the 21st of September, the case was in court; the September assizes began on the 22nd of September. There were 50 cases pending; 32 traversed from last May. The criminal justice system—should we hold up that to fight Mr. Sinanan when he could go to the Court of Appeal, to the Privy Council? Should we hold the people of St. Kitts and Nevis ransom, trying to manners Mr. Sinanan…? the attorney general asked.