Attorneys say PM Browne has strayed out of his lane with his attempts to instruct the DPP on prosecution of Asot Michael

A Facebook post by Prime Minister Gaston Browne is evoking alarm among residents – including members of the legal profession – who are concerned about his naked interference in the justice system.

On Thursday, January 12, Browne announced that he would be writing to the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shannon Jones-Gittens, concerning the alleged involvement of his former friend and colleague minister, Asot Michael, in a criminal matter that was investigated in the United Kingdom.

Several attorneys tell REAL News the Prime Minister has strayed outside the lane of the Executive and is trespassing on the jurisdiction of the Judiciary – since, constitutionally, the DPP cannot be instructed by any person.

One lawyer says he is afraid that Jones-Gittens – who is new to the position – “has not yet acquired the professional maturity to say ‘No’ to the Prime Minister.”

Another says he hopes the Acting DPP will not allow Browne to “wreck her legal career simply to meet his political ends.”

Meanwhile, a businessman is asking why PM Browne – “in the dying moments of this Administration” – is pursuing this matter when he has had more than five years in office to pursue it.  

The man notes that allegations about Michael’s involvement in a bribery case that involves UK investor Peter Virdee surfaced since 2017, when the St. Peter MP was detained and questioned by British police.

“In spite of this, Gaston welcomed Asot on his 2018 election ticket!” the Rural North resident points out. “So if the UK matter did not warrant involvement by the DPP in 2017, why is the Prime Minister pushing it now?” he asks.

With respect to that query, Browne’s Facebook post claims that Shannon-Jones’ predecessor “… for obvious reasons failed to pursue Asot Michael.”

Browne did not state what those reasons were, but the Prime Minister has never denied authoring accusations about former DPP Anthony Armstrong, implying that he was beholden to Michael.

Armstrong has since been arrested and charged with fraud in his native Jamaica.

Ironically, one attorney says, Browne recently said, during a radio interview, that Armstrong has been retired, with his agreement, by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

The lawyer says it is beyond belief that – after the insinuations by Browne, himself, and the facts of Armstrong’s arrest and charges – the Prime Minister could have agreed to the former DPP’s retirement, which means that the taxpayers of this country will be footing his considerable pension.