The Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s might soon have to look for a Solicitor-General to replace the office holder, Dwight Horsford.
According to a well-placed source, Horsford has been approached by the OECS Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira on the possibility of taking up a permanent appointment as a high court judge in the Eastern Caribbean court circuit.
He said that Horsford, with 15 years of practice as an attorney-at-law, has already submitted his CV for perusal by the Judicial & Legal Services Commission (JLSC), the body responsible for hiring judges within the OECS sub-region.
The source told THE NEW TODAY that the Chief Justice has “sounded out” a number of legal luminaries including a battery of local and regional Queen’s Counsel on the impending appointment of Horsford to serve as a judge.
This paper understands that among the persons contacted on the issue were retired OECS high court judge, Justice Monica Joseph, as well as prominent local QC’s, Dr. Francis Alexis and Celia Clyne-Edwards.
According to a source who did not wish to be identified, Chief Justice Pereira has been forced to look for a new set of persons to appoint to serve on the bench due to a current shortage of judges in the OECS court circuit.
He said the situation has almost reached “a crisis” with a number of judges nearing the age of retirement and some leaving their positions to take up more lucrative offers elsewhere.
Last month, Grenada lost one of its three judges with the resignation of Trinidad-born high court judge, Justice Shiraz Aziz to take up a tax free US$12, 000.00 a month position in the Cayman Islands.
Horsford’s expected departure to serve as a high court judge in the OECS could be a “massive blow” for the Mitchell-led government which was only returned to power in March for another 5-years in office.
Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Mitchell might have offered the post of Attorney-General to Horsford when the six month contract given to the current holder of the post, Dr. Lawrence Joseph expires at the end of this month.
However, administration sources have said that Dr. Mitchell agreed to extend by another six months the contract of Dr. Joseph, his long-standing political ally to allow him to take charge of the proceedings leading up to the planned referendum before year-end on abolishing appeals to the Privy Council in London and to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the final appellate court on the island.
Horsford has been a key legal figure for the Mitchell-led government during the 2013-18 term in office with the attorney handling most of the legal matters for the State in court.
He led the arguments for the State-assembled team of lawyers including QC Alexis against the efforts of barrister-at-law, Jimmy Bristol to block the 2016 referendum on seven government-sponsored bills to change the island’s 1974 Constitution.
Horsford also submitted a legal opinion to government which blocked the efforts of Prime Minister Mitchell to award QC status to two attorneys in private practice, Ruggles Ferguson and Derick Sylvester without going through the system put in place by the OECS Chief Justice.