The way forward on the matter regarding Deputy Solicitor General, Prithima Kissoon, is to be decided by the Public Service Commission, (PSC).
This is according to Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams.
Commenting on the matter, yesterday, following a press briefing at his Carmichael Street Office, the AG disclosed that steps have been taken to have investigations launched into all the cases that were handled by Ms. Kissoon.
Williams had accused the Deputy Solicitor of undermining pertinent legal matters between the Government and the Opposition.
His accusations came in the wake of the Government‘s loss of the race-baiting appeal case against former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Williams said that there had long been suspicions that Kissoon had been acting in favour of the previous administration.
“And these are highly sensitive cases therefore there must be investigations into the matters before any pronouncements on the way forward.”
The AG said that the matter is engaging the attention of the Public Service Commission, (PSC).
Over the weekend, the AG revealed that he has instructed the Permanent Secretary of the Attorney General Chambers/Ministry of Legal Affairs to inform the Public Service Commission, of the Chambers’ intention to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Kissoon, and further, to enquire of the PSC’s procedures pertaining to same.
Williams was responding to Kissoon’s claims that he had taken steps to remove her from all state cases because she has been openly supportive of the PPP/C Opposition and the Party’s lawyer, Anil Nandlall.
But Kissoon filed an official complaint against Williams with the Public Service Commission, claiming that she was ordered to cease all cases on behalf of the AG Chambers.
Last week, State-owned newspaper, Guyana Chronicle, carried a critical piece, insinuating that Kissoon was to be blamed for Government recently losing a race-baiting appeal case against former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Following the article, the Deputy State Solicitor, in an undated letter to the Public Service Commission, claimed that she was ordered to cease all cases on behalf of the AG Chambers. She also denied she was to be blamed for the race-baiting case being tossed out.
The Deputy Solicitor General said that Williams, despite being reminded that he had to file an affidavit in response, did nothing.
In a document to support her claim, Kissoon noted that she had emailed the AG on numerous occasions seeking his perusal, approval and necessary alterations of affidavit in response to the challenge to cross appeal by Jagdeo’s Attorney, Mursaline Bacchus, which sought to have the matter struck out.
“I emailed you and the Solicitor General, Ms. Sita Ramlal, a copy of the draft of the Affidavit in Answer with the subject heading: BHARRAT JAGDEO COURT OF APPEAL: AFFIDAVIT IN ANSWER and I attached a draft of the Affidavit in Answer in relation to the captioned matter, where I informed you and the Solicitor General via email, that Mr. Murseline Bacchus, Attorney-at-law, filed a Motion on behalf of Mr. Jagdeo, to have the Appeal dismissed as being vexatious as the Attorney General ought not to have filed the appeal since he was not a party to the proceedings in the High Court.
“I attached the draft Affidavit in Answer for your comments, additions or alterations, to which you responded on the 21stSeptember, 2016.”
The Deputy Solicitor said that she emailed the AG on several occasions informing him that there was an issue with the matter before the court but he neglected to make the necessary amendments.
As with the Jagdeo matter, Kissoon said 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.”
Solicitor General Sita Ramlal in a letter to the newspaper noted that she did not prepare nor approve the Appeal in the matter.
”The Deputy Solicitor General Ms. Prithima Kissoon at all material times and at all stages had conduct of the matter and she was aware that an Appeal was being prepared.
”When the Appeal was to be filed Ms. Kissoon could not be found to affix her signature to same.
“The pleadings were brought to me for signature, whereupon I declined to sign same. I then went to the Honourable Attorney General and advised that he could not be a party to the action for the very same reasons stated by Mr. Mursaline Bacchus in his letter published in the January 24, 2017, edition of the Stabroek News newspaper.
“But the Honourable Attorney General was adamant and instructed me to sign and file the Appeal. This was done.
“However, I again brought the issue to the attention of the Honourable Attorney General at a general staff meeting in the presence of the staff of Litigation Department, including Ms. Kissoon.
“After discussions Ms. Kissoon agreed that she would apply for an extension of time to amend the rubric of the Appeal.”
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