AG Williams rubbishes claims of bad performance
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senior Counsel (SC), Basil Williams has defended his performance amidst accusations of increased budgetary allocations to his Chambers and poor performance.
Making reference to Guyana being blacklisted by both the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Attorney General said, “They got us into the black hole, but never got us out. We got us out.”
Guyana’s successful hosting of the 25-member, CFATF’s 46th Plenary and Working Group Meetings and the country’s accession to the Chairmanship of the said body were highlighted as hallmark achievements.
The hosting of The Hague Conference of 2016 with the follow-up Conference in 2017 which enabled stakeholders to confirm support for accession to the various Hague Conventions, including Child Protection Adoption, Abduction, and Maintenance, the Attorney General noted were pluses for Guyana under this Government.
Minister Williams took a swipe at the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, questioning his accomplishments, “In fact, there is nothing for Mr. Nandlall to show, Mr. Nandlall tried law revision…when Mr. Nandlall was finished with his review, entire Acts disappeared that weren’t repealed, there, in fact, was no subsidiary legislation.”
The Attorney General said when he entered the AG’s Chambers was dysfunctional, “he runs this place like it was a cook shop” noting that the former AG did nothing to advance Guyana’s profile in the region.
He cited the inheritance of cases such as the Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and its subsidiary TCL Guyana Inc. (TGI), which filed an application in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the Government of Guyana requesting that Guyana be held in contempt for its failure to implement the Common External Tariff (CET) on cement from non-CARICOM sources as ordered by the Court.
“They actually allowed lawyers to go into arbitral proceedings without the government being represented and now these people are coming now that we came into office,” the AG said.
Claims that Government is fraudulently settling a number of cases were also rubbished by Minister Williams, who called on the naysayers to provide evidence of such.
The Attorney General then issued a stern warning that the Government will deal seriously with corruption. In this regard, the Ministry will continue its anti-corruption sensitisation seminars in all regions by targeting employees of the state.
For 2018, the Attorney General said his Chambers is on a mission of institutional strengthening as it pursues its legislative agenda for 2018, building on its 2017 achievements.
The Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have embarked on a collaboration to reduce the high concentrations of prison populations in Guyana, particularly the reduction of inmates who are pre-trial detainees and increasing the use of alternative sentencing.
The US$8M loan will be spent on a Legal Aid pilot project, a Restorative Justice Programme, strengthened probation services and a Law Reform Commission.
The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), the Attorney General assured, will continue to investigate and prosecute financial crimes involving some $900B. (DPI)