Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis: The government of the twin-island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis shared the accomplishments of Attorney General Garth Wilkin for the first seven months of his working.
As per the update by the government, following are the achievements of the Attorney General:
LEGISLATIVE & CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
• Established the Joint Constitutional Review Committee with the Legal Department of the Nevis Island Administration, tasked with re-creating and redesigning our Constitution to create the most equitable solution for the historic economic and political disputes between St Kitts and Nevis.
• Crafted new Citizenship by Investment (CBI) regulations to strengthen the legislative framework of our CBI Programme after widespread consultation with CBI stakeholders.
• Consulted with various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and led the drafting of 17 new Bills, 14 of which have been tabled and passed in the National Assembly, including- the safe passage of the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act to provide tools to tackle the scourge of domestic violence in the Federation;
– The safe passage of the main three pillars of the Anti-Corruption/Good Governance new paradigm for our Federation: the Anti-Corruption Act, the Integrity In Public Life (Amendment) Act and the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act; and
– The tabling of important Eastern Caribbean Central Bank legislation in the National Assembly, the Banking (Amendment) Bill, 2023, as well as the Bill to amend the ECCB Agreement, which will help to protect the Federation and OECS financial system.
INTERNATIONAL & REGIONAL ACTIVITIES
• Elected by the Attorneys General and Law Ministers in the Commonwealth to serve on the Commonwealth Law Ministers Action Group of 9, which allows our small Nation to have a loud international voice in reviewing progress and advising the Commonwealth Secretariat on key Rule of Law and Equal Access to Justice strategies throughout the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries.
• Appointed at the 53rd Meeting of the Council of Legal Education to serve on the Executive Committee, which governs legal education in the Caribbean in February 2023, during the CLE Executive Committee meeting, tasked with chairing a subcommittee on policy development.
• Volunteered to serve on the Financial Action Task Force’s Risk Trends and Method Group on the money laundering risks associated with citizenship and residency by investment programmes. This role will provide St Kitts and Nevis the opportunity to directly explain to the international community how its CBI programme works and the AML measures that are in place.
• Selected to deliver a speech at the Sixth Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union Attorneys General, along with Chief Parliamentary Counsel on the topic: Achieving Growth and Resilience – A New Vision for the ECCU Legal System.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE COURTS & REGISTRIES
• Actively participated in the 34th Meeting of the OECS Legal Affairs Committee constituted of OECS Attorneys General to discuss and finalize various important OECS model Bills. Ensured that the District A Magistrates’ Court Complex at Fortlands, Basseterre became fully operational on August 22, 2022, so that the backlog of cases which piled up since the closure of the Sir Lee L Moore Judicial & Legal Services Complex in early June 2022 could be resolved.
• Relocated and reopened the High Court Registry (closed in June 2022) to function from the Sir Tapley Seaton Annex, independence Square East, Basseterre, on August 24, 2022.
• Relocated the High Court (Criminal Division) to the Police Training School in September 2022 to ensure there would be no significant backlog of criminal trials.
• Secured the appointment of three (3) new Commissioners of Oaths from the staff of the High Court and Land Registries in Basseterre to ensure that at least one Commissioner is available to serve Attorneys at Law and the public during opening hours.
• Seconded two Crown Counsel from the Attorney-General’s Chambers to act as Registrar and Assistant Registrar to improve efficiency and professionalism in the administration of the High Court.
• Recruited an experienced land registry professional to increase efficiencies and turnaround times at the Land Registry in Basseterre.
ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
• Stabilized the Director of Public Prosecution’s Office, which was ravaged by the resignations of the most senior prosecutors in early 2022, by re-engagement of those senior prosecutors and recruitment of Crown Counsel prosecutors, additional staff and an additional police prosecutor. DPP candidates have been interviewed, and one will be selected by a panel of senior public servants before the end of March 2023.
• Established the Justice Committee chaired by the Resident High Court Judge in the Criminal Division comprising representatives from the Ministry of Justice & Legal Affairs, the Magistracy, the Police Force, the Prison, the DPP’s Office and the SKN Bar Association, the purpose of which is to discuss ideas and find solutions which will result in the real changes needed to improve the administration of justice in the Federation.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE
• Recruited new Crown Counsel and staff, set up internal professional structures and introduced various team-building exercises to promote the professional development of team members and to assist with the efficient operation of the Attorney-General’s Office, which will ensure the benefit of administration of Government generally Negotiated with the Indian High Commissioner for India to provide legal training to counsel within the Attorney-General’s Office and supply law texts and other legal resources.