…Ms Kissoon accuses him of verbal abuse, vilification and libel
…seeking to find a reason lawful or unlawful, to oust her from her post
Days after the state-owned newspaper, Guyana Chronicle, carried a critical piece, insinuating that she was to be blamed for Government recently losing a race-baiting appeal case against former President Bharrat Jagdeo, a senior official of the Attorney General Chambers has filed an official complaint against Minister Basil Williams.
Deputy State Solicitor, Prithima Kissoon, in her undated letter to the Public Service Commission, claimed that she was ordered to cease all cases on behalf of the AG Chambers.
Kissoon now wants the commission to investigate the case and also allow her to proceed on leave and grant permission to leave the country.
According to the complaint against Attorney General Basil Williams, Kissoon was hired by the commission as Deputy Solicitor General in February 2013. Before that she worked with three previous Attorneys General.
Kissoon said that her first three months with the new AG starting in May 2015 were “somewhat” cordial.
However, the AG was slow in granting his approval and signature on a number of cases and decisions.
The official claimed she represented the AG Chambers in the majority of cases even when it was Williams who had undertaken to appear.
“The Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, has failed to approve or sign written submissions prepared by me or examine pleadings despite those documents being sent to him via email or being given to his Confidential Secretary, Ms. Demi Hipplewith, Ms. Andrea Marks and other assistants he has retained over the past year,” Kissoon claimed.
Kissoon claimed that Minister Williams even instructed his secretary and his other assistants to refuse to accept any documents or correspondences from her, and as a result, “I have had to resort to registering or express mailing him my correspondence and at all times emailing him and carbon copying relevant recipients.”
Denying she was to be blamed for race-baiting case being tossed out, Kissoon said that Williams despite being reminded that he has to file an affidavit in response, did nothing.
“Adjourned dates are continued to be given in which I have to appear and I am duty bound to the Court who enquire about my course of action. In the Attorney General v Bharrat Jagdeo, I sought to make oral submissions which were put in writing and sent to the Court as well as copied to the AG.”
The lawyer said that she was sick between the January 5, 2017 to the January 21, 2017, for which she submitted medical reports and case lists on all matters to be heard in her absence.
“On the date of the ruling he did not appear in Court but sent Ms. Stuart, my subordinate, for the first time to take the decision which was duly made by the Court dismissing the appeal as the wrong party was the Appellant and not Ms. Artiga. Here I must emphasize that the Appeal in this matter was prepared and approved by the Solicitor General, now resigned. I sought to remedy the mistake.”
This matter, Kissoon said in her complaint, caused him to abuse her, vilify and libel her in the press.
Kissoon said she resumed duties on January 23, 2017, with the intention of reporting directly to the AG.
“I discovered that he was at a meeting so I went to my office and cleared it of accumulated documents. Legal Officers came to my room to discuss cases touching and concerning cases in Court. Lo and behold, at 1.30 pm I received a memorandum from the Permanent Secretary directed by the AG of my insubordination for not reporting promptly, my resumption to work.”
Kissoon said she attempted to meet Williams but he was not available.
She said that the memo directed her to cease conduct of all court matters involving the AG Chambers until further notice.
“On the 23rd of January, 2017, I received a further memo questioning my conduct as to the non filing of the Affidavit in answer in the case of AG v BJ. That memo was duly answered.”
She claimed that the next day, the AG further attempted to humiliate her and sought “to find a reason lawful or unlawful, to oust me from my post. He sent members of his admin staff to record from my office all the cases that are contained therein. Whatsoever that means I don’t know for I deal only in court cases, for which all pleadings and documents are a matter of public record, having been filed.”
The Deputy Solicitor General said that the AG has effectively ensured that she is prohibited and restrained from performing her functions.
“Commissioners, I respectfully wish to inform you that the course of conduct administered unlawfully by the AG, personally upon me, are reprehensible, unbearable and malicious, initiated and executed by the AG, Basil Williams SC, so that I leave the office which I consider through the opinion of my lawyers as CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL.”
She asked that the commission grant permission for her to proceed on her deferred leave from 2016, that was denied by the AG, while a remedy is found.
“I await your directions within a week and also permission to leave the country.”
The letter was copied to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
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