Cabinet to deliberate on allegations of misconduct against AG
Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, has indicated that Cabinet will be looking into allegations of misconduct against Attorney General Basil Williams, which has reportedly resulted in at least 19 lawyers resigning during the course of four years.
The allegations were compiled in a letter and were addressed to members of the Government. The letter revealed that 19 lawyers have resigned from the Legal Affairs Ministry since 2015.
In the document, the employees called for a thorough probe into the operations of the Ministry. On Thursday, the Director General told the media that the issue is yet to be addressed at the level of Cabinet.
“This is something that just recently came out and so Cabinet would not have had an opportunity to deliberate on that. I’m not prepared to make any further statement on it until such time that Cabinet would have actually deliberated on the matter,” he stated.
According to staff who reached out to Guyana Times, lawyers in the Attorney General’s Chambers have to contend with a difficult and even toxic and abusive working environment.
Pointing to the large proportion of cases being lost by the Chambers in the courts, the employees recommended an investigation into claims of mismanagement and bad legal advice being followed.
Some of those lawyers who departed the Chambers include former Registrar and Solicitor General, Sita Ramlall, who was forced to move to the High Court last year over her pension and gratuity being withheld; and former Deputy Solicitor General, Prithima Kissoon, who sued for wrongful dismissal.
The Attorney General had come in for harsh criticism previously for his comments about Kissoon, with commentators bashing the manner in which he dealt with the matter.
In a letter to the Editor published in local newspapers in 2017, the former Deputy Solicitor General’s father, prominent Attorney Jailall Kissoon, pointed out that this is the first time in legal history that an Attorney General has levelled such a blast of terror and fear upon the Judiciary or his own legal officer.
“The fallout from this scurrilous blast has radiated its tremulous fear through the spinal cord of the entire body of the Judiciary in Guyana and elsewhere,” he pointed out.
According to the senior Kissoon, there are recorded documents in court to support that the ruling against the State-sponsored appeal was a pure stream of justice flowing uninterruptedly; that is, until it was polluted by the Attorney General in an article published in the State-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper.
“Your prejudiced perception is that the Chancellor, together with applicant Bharrat Jagdeo, his Attorney-at-Law, Mr (Mursaline) Bacchus and the Deputy Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon, all of common ethnicity, caused the Attorney General and the Editor to fall in the dark mud of malice and partiality that Jagdeo must receive the benefit from the court unjustly. But the law does not recognise skin colour, the law is the law,” the Attorney penned.
He went on to say that, “the Attorney General, who has such legal wisdom and foresight, ought to have seen the unholy conspiracy of the bench and Bar and should have appeared in person, as leader of the Bar, filed his Affidavit in Answer, argued his case as a legal luminary and eminent counsel and crushed the Applicant’s case to smithereens.”