AG Nandlall chides AFC’s Ramjattan over ‘scandalous remarks’

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[www.inewsguyana.com] – Attorney General Anil Nandlall in a statement on Wednesday (January 15) said he has read with some disquiet a ‘most detailed epistle’ in the Stabroek News by Attorney-at-Law and Alliance for Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, in respect of the case filed by Bashir Mohamed against the Chief Works Officer and the Attorney General.

“I remain mystified as to the reason why the letter was written in the first place. The matter concluded in the Court of Appeal by virtue of a Notice of Withdrawal and Continuance filed by Mr. Ramjattan himself, presumably, upon the instructions of his client.”

The AG accused Ramjattan of making scandalous remarks and said he felt compelled to counteract for the public record.

See full text of Nandlall’s statement below:

1.        Mr. Ramjattan contends that his client informed him that “The other side and myself worked out a settlement after days of negotiation. They want it confidential, I am happy with that, sir, please withdraw.” Assuming, that Mr. Ramjattan and his client had such a conversation, I believe that Mr. Ramjattan’s client’s request for confidentiality would have ethically and legally prevented Mr. Ramjattan from disclosing same, publicly. However, that is a matter for Mr. Ramjattan and his client.

For the record, I am unaware of any “settlement” or that there were any “negotiations” with anyone for and on behalf of the Government of Guyana and Mr. Ramjattan’s client. I know Mr. Ramjattan’s client, personally, as I was one of his Attorneys-at-Law when I was in private practise. Mr. Ramjattan’s client called me on, or about the 2nd day of January 2014, and informed me that he is no longer desirous of pursuing the case; that he will pull down his fence and reconstruct same in accordance with the boundaries, measurements and specifications put forward by the Government. I informed him to so instruct his lawyer as early as is reasonably possible and to request his lawyer to file the requisite legal documents to formally withdraw the proceedings.

On or about the 4th day of January, 2014, I contacted Mr. Ramjattan by phone and informed him of his client’s telephone conversation with me and drew to his attention the fact that I was not yet in receipt of any Notice of Withdrawal and Discontinuance which he may have filed. He informed me that he is unaware of his client’s intention to withdraw the proceedings. I immediately made contact with Mr. Mohamed and informed him of the content of the conversation which I had with Mr. Ramjattan. Mr. Mohamd promised to make contact with Mr. Ramjattan immediately. Subsequently, Mr. Ramjattan informed me that he was instructed by his client to with draw from the proceedings and that he will do so shortly. He eventually did so on the 7th of January 2014. As far as I am aware, the aforesaid is all that transpired between the Government of Guyana and Mr. Bashir Mohamed in respect of this matter.

2.        I am at loss in attempting to understand the relevance of the long recitation by Mr. Ramjattan of what transpired in Court. Unfortunately, he chose to put that in the public domain but even more unfortunately, jaundiced the recitation with his own prejudices. I will now seek to inject some objectivity. At the hearing which took place on December 27th, 2013, I advanced the following arguments:

a)        The Court had no jurisdiction to make the Order which was made and that it was the first duty of any Court to satisfy itself  that it has jurisdiction in any given cause or matter;

b)        the contention of Mr. Ramjattan, that a party must first purge his alleged contempt before being heard, is a position which has been departed from in many modern cases and is a rule that has extremely limited application and is not applicable to the case at hand;

c)        in any event, contempt proceedings must be properly filed and that there must be a finding of contempt by a Court of competent jurisdiction properly moved for that purpose before the rule can be applied in any given case;

d)        and that it would be impossible to establish contempt in this matter in so far as the Order of Court was never personally served on either defendants and no Penal Notice was endorsed on the said Order, making same incapable of enforcement.

In my humble view, those were contentions that could are most elementary and could have been ruled upon immediately. However, the Court ordered an Affidavit to be filed.

3.        Mr. Ramjattan’s assertion that the Ministry of Public Works is attempting to persuade Transport holders not to pursue legal proceedings for compensations is speculative in the least and reckless and wrong, at worst. Certain statutory officers located within the Ministry of Public Works are endowed with statutory powers to demolish all or any buildings, erections, structures and encumbrances that are on Road Reserves, Government Reserves or on State lands. Those officers are advised to exercise those powers, whenever and wherever necessary. Of course, anyone aggrieved is free to approach the Court to seek legal redress. Hopefully, they retain counsel of prudence who will advise them whether or not they have a good case, and if so, counsel will utilise the proper legal procedure in approaching the Court and will not err as the Chief Justice ruled that Mr. Ramjattan did in the case at hand.

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