Lost Region 10 Seat…
Alliance for Change Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, has lashed out persons speaking to the competency of the legal team that petitioned the High Court for the Region 10 Parliamentary seat.
Ramjattan pointed out that in no way was the loss a result of the inability of the team of lawyers but rather, “it had everything to do with devious machinations in the High Court’s administrative system primarily within the Marshal Section…from hindsight, I am now aware why this Marshal was giving us the royal runaround…that is in signing up the Affidavit of Service. He was obviously gotten.”
Ramjattan said that the Affidavit of Service was filed late but it was not the fault of the AFC nor its lawyers, in that it had to be filed by the Marshal who served the documents on GECOM and the various interested parties.
This is the regular, normal thing which has to take place once there was Marshal service according to Ramjattan, who explained that it could not have been done by the Petitioner, nor the lawyers.
“It had to be done by someone who actually did the service, the Marshal…or, as we later advised ourselves, someone who actually had witnessed it done, assuming that there was a difficulty in getting the Marshal to do so.”
Ramjattan opined that the Marshall, “apparently was gotten to by those who were interested in his non-filing or late-filing thereof.”
He explained that when the case came up for hearing some months later in Chief Justice Carl Singh’s Court, Attorney-At-Law Stephen Fraser who was one of the lawyers on the team, and himself complained to the Head Marshal and even to Sita Ramlall about the document not being done by the Marshal.
Ramjattan added that the Registrar at that time said that arrangements will be made to get the Marshal who actually served the Petition and accompanying documents, to do so.
“This complaint was made at the same time we (myself and Stephen Frazer) were requesting that the matter be Gazetted early so as to have an early hearing.”
This he explained has to be done by the Supreme Court Registry and not the lawyers.
“We reminded her on several occasions…then later she told me that the Marshal was saying that he cannot remember what and what documents he served…we were in a quandary and had asked CJ Singh about this.”
Ramjattan said that they were informed by him that he could not be their legal advisors and, “We simply responded that we were seeking directions. It was then that we decided that the driver and clerk of Mr. Fraser, who had accompanied the Marshal at the time when he was serving the Petition on GECOM and the various parties, will have to do the Affidavit of Service.”
This was some 10 months later but Ramjattan explained that it was as soon as was possible in the circumstances.
He said that when preliminary arguments began before Chief Justice Carl Singh in 2007/8, one such point being that the Affidavit of Service was filed too late, “we countered that it was no fault of the Petitioner.
He said that at that time Fraser reminded the Chief Justice that in the late convening of the Parliament case, it was he who had ruled that constitutional timelines were merely directory.
His reminder as Ramjattan recalled, were with words to this effect: “Sir you only recently had ruled that constitutional timelines were directory.”
He then questioned, “how come now you are being asked by the same lawyers to rule that in the lowest in the hierarchy of laws —subsidiary legislation— which does not even stipulate a timeline, that such should now be mandatory? How could that be?” This literally ended the discussion on this point before that Judge.”
The matter continued that on the premise that there would be a ruling on the preliminary submissions.
“We were optimistic that there was going to be a ruling in our favour on all the preliminary points raised, especially the one on late filing of the Affidavit of Service because we hardly expected the Chief Justice, Carl Singh, to be inconsistent with his own ruling and the jurisprudence he had set out.”
The ruling was not done and the matter was further delayed when he was elevated to that of Chancellor.
Ramjattan also added that when the matter was presided over by Chief Justice, Ian Chang, he never asked for an explanation as to why the Affidavit of Service was filed 10 months later.
“If this was bothering him he ought to have given us an opportunity to explain…Fraser, just before closing his arguments, did ask of Chief Justice Chang if there was anything else he wanted him to clear up…Chief Justice Chang indicated there was nothing else he wanted to hear. He then simply ruled.
Ramjattan in response to the competency of himself or the other lawyers said, “Incompetent lawyering is the norm of this State under a PPP/C Government…If an analysis is done as to the number of cases it loses every year, it would shock the taxpayers.”
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