Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told media operatives that the appointment of the legal advisors to the Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams, SC, were just actual formalities since the advisors were volunteers.
Questions were posed to the Minister during a post- Cabinet press briefing, today, at the Ministry of the Presidency seeking answers on the salaries that will be paid to the advisors, as well as the rationale behind their appointment.
Harmon responded, “we have talent that is available in the country and when you have talent like that, there are people who have actually been in the system who served as judges, some as court of appeal judges and so on, and who have actually given their consent to act in that capacity. I think it is something that any government will take and hold with both hands. Those persons actually volunteered their services, and I don’t know specifically what exactly the sum is, but I am sure it will just be a nominal sum for the advisors.”
Williams in as subsequent release confirmed that the advisors will be receiving a “mere monthly honorarium of twenty thousand Guyana dollars (G$20,000) for the chairperson
and fifteen thousand Guyana dollars (G$15,000) for each member.”
He said that the “highly decorated personnel by the President to assist the Attorney General in the discharge of his official duties” are appointed as members of the Ministerial Council of Legal Advisors and not staff appointees at the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Earlier in the month, Harmon had announced the establishment of the Ministerial Council. The Council will provide legal analyses and advice on the development of the justice sector, the government’s legislative agenda, and litigation matters, to have an input in legal policy design, and to engage stakeholders with interest in the justice sector where appropriate.
Those identified to serve on the council are Justice Duke Pollard, Justice James Patterson, Justice Claudette Singh, Professor Harold Lutchman and Professor Harold James.