Virgin Islanders will hold two of the territory’s top legal positions, officials said last week.
On Friday, the Office of the Deputy Governor announced that acting Director of Public Prosecutions Tiffany Scatliffe-Esprit had been confirmed in that role, and the same day at a contract signing for renovations to the Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex, Premier Andrew Fahie announced that a Virgin Islander had been selected as the new attorney general.
“It shows that once we continue to fight for people in the Virgin Islands and those that call here home and embrace here as their home, they will be able to continue to build the Virgin Islands from strength to strength,” Mr. Fahie said, adding, “I’m so elated about that news but I cannot name the person as yet.”
Temulji Hughes, communications officer in the Deputy Governor’s Office, said that he could not comment on the identity of the new AG at this time but will give more information as soon as he is allowed.
Current Attorney General Baba Aziz has held the post since since February 2015, but Mr. Fahie told the House of Assembly in a December sitting that Mr. Aziz’s contract would expire in February.
Mr. Aziz, who also served as acting AG from June 2010 until November 2011, could not be reached for comment.
As part of her responsibilities as DPP, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit will be charged with providing written legal advice to government ministries, commissions and departments, and she will also attend certain meetings to “provide immediate oral advice,” according to a press release from the DGO.
Additionally, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit will manage all summary court, high court, court of appeal and privy council matters, and will liaise with the governor, police commissioner, and others on criminal matters, the press release states.
After being called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2005, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit was called to the Bar of the Virgin Islands in 2006, the same year she started working in the Office of the DPP as a Crown counsel.
In 2015, she was inducted into the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the press release states.
Since then, Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit has continued her legal education, receiving a Master of Law from the University of Liverpool in 2017, and a diploma in human resources management, a diploma in workforce management and development, and a professional certificate in human resources management from Michigan State University in April 2019.
She succeeds DPP Kim Hollis, who resigned in December to care for an ailing family member. In an October statement announcing Ms. Hollis’ impending resignation, Deputy Governor David Archer Jr. encouraged residents to seek employment in the territory’s legal field.
Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit’s appointment marks the first time in at least two decades that a Virgin Islander has held the role of DPP.
In 2000 Terrence Williams, a former assistant DPP in his native Jamaica, took over the role in the VI, which he held for about ten years.
Following Mr. Williams’ resignation, Trinidad national Wayne Rajbansie took office in 2012, followed by Kim Hollis in 2016.
The last Virgin Islander to serve as AG was Dancia Penn, who held the office from 1992 until 1999, and later would serve as the deputy governor and deputy premier, among other public offices.