Following is a statement issued by former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall:
Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, continues to clumsily blame every person under the sun, other than himself, for his manifest incompetence. Yours truly, Solicitor-General, Sita Ramlal, Deputy Solicitor-General, Pretima Kissoon, former Chancellor, Carl Singh and indeed the entire Court of Appeal, among others, have all been victims of blame by the Attorney- General, in his relentless attempt to hide his ineptitude.
The most recent example of this puerile strategy is contained in an affidavit filed by the Attorney-General for leave to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the judgement obtained by Dipcon against the State as was carried by a story published on page 13 of Stabroek News, 4th March, 2017.
This judgment was granted since the 21st October, 2015, by Justice Rishi Persaud. Mr. Williams has been holding the office of Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs since May 2015, a full six (6) months before the judgment was granted. The State in these proceedings was represented by Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Roysdale Forde. The AG Chambers has an institutional record-keeping system that documents the status of every matter pending before the Court and the Attorney-at-Law who has conduct of the matter, whether that Attorney-at-Law is attached to the Chambers or is external to the Chambers.
It is obviously the responsibility of the AG to apprise himself of each case in the system. This current AG loves to create the impression that he is the first holder of that office. Unfortunately for him the reality is different and the public knows that. Every new Attorney-General has had the duty, when he assumes office, to familiarize himself with the workings of the office, including the pending cases. I did the same. If an AG fails to do so and something goes wrong then he must man-up and accept responsibility for his failure and negligence, rather than throwing child-like tantrums.
In this matter, not only was the judgment granted six (6) months after Mr. Williams was appointed but he concedes that he learnt about it in January 2016: a further four (4) months after the judgment was granted. If this was not an indictment enough, the incompetence was further compounded by the Attorney-General filing an application for an extension of time within which to file a notice of appeal, until May 12th, 2016. A further five (5) months after he admits knowing of the existence of the judgment. Therefore, the entire period of the neglect is an entire year from the time he took office.
Let us for one moment excuse his prior incompetence, and accept that he only learnt of the existence of the judgement in January, 2016, a competent Attorney-at-Law would have filed an application for an extension of time, within which to appeal within a matter of days, i.e. in January, 2016, itself. This learned Attorney-General took a further five (5) months to do so and then blames me and the rest of the world for his plight. In my considered opinion, the Court of Appeal was perfectly correct in dismissing his application and there is every likelihood that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would do likewise.