Yesterday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, avoided making promises to refrain from engaging in future out of court settlement agreements similar to the one he tied up with BK International.
For some time, the nation was under the impression that Government paid BK International $5.7M to avoid having to pay more in the courts. The impression given was that BK sued the government for $10M and government was able to settle for less out of court.
After Kaieteur News found no court document to prove that BK sued to government, the newspaper began digging further. It was soon revealed that BK never actually sued this government and that government decided to pay the businessman this sum just because he sent it a simple threat letter.
The newspaper carried a series of stories on the issue.
Initially, efforts were made to source information from Williams, but he refused to cooperate as he said that the newspaper was giving him negative publicity. Indeed, there were articles quoting former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, suggesting that persons were getting kickbacks from the BK deal.
Yesterday, the Minister held a press conference at his Carmichael Street office. He spoke on a range of issues. Following the press conference, Kaieteur News sought comments on issues surrounding the BK deal and asked about the possibility of a similar deal being made with any other company.
Before going into details about this, Williams said that he felt as if Kaieteur News maligned and tried to impugn him in his capacity as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs.
He said, “I am not sure if you are testing my resolve, but I wish this newspaper would be more upfront and frank.”
Kaieteur News asked Williams, “With all that was exposed with regards the BK settlement would you seek to minimize future unnecessary out of court settlements?”
He responded, “These are all cases we inherited from the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) government. They did not pay their dues. So we have to go forward with it. You want us to owe the people?”
The Minister continued, “I will be settling more of the cases that we inherited from the PPP, we do not have any choice.”
Asked again if we could see similar settlements like the one BK secured, the AG said, “I have to do what is necessary.”
The Minister also noted, “You have to remember, the PPP had already decided to pay BK. What do you do in a case like this? It is only because they lost the election that you didn’t see what was really intended. We, in government, have an idea what they intended.”
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