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Independent office holders must avoid perception of bias

Thursday, July 17, 2014

There is a belief in our society that whenever a public official is found to be incompetent in the performance of his or her duties, he or she is promoted to a post where their lack of skill is less noticeable. Over the years this belief has been expanded to include situations where a public official is perceived to be acting too late or not at all. Such a person is simply transferred to another post or also promoted.


In the recent highly-publicised e-mail scandal, purportedly involving several government officials, there was talk that DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, would be made a judge of the High Court. Some believe that his predecessor, Justice Geoffrey Henderson, was appointed a judge following several clashes between him and the Manning regime.


We know that it is the Judicial and Legal Service Commission which is responsible for the appointment of judges and not the Executive, but these references illustrate the real belief of the man on the street: a senior public servant or even Director of Public Prosecutions become targets for promotion should the politician view them as impediments. For my part, I hope that these beliefs are only myths and nothing more.