Please see below the Hon. AG’s response which caused the Express to apologise yesterday over false statements concerning the Volney court settlement. “Unfortunately, the Express has not published the AG’s response to date.”
AG RESPONDS TO EXPRESS REPORTS ON THE PRESS CONFERENCE HELD ON 20TH MAY 2014 CONCERNING MR. HEBERT VOLNEY AND SECTION 34 ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE (INDICTABLE PROCEEDINGS) ACT
It is said that a lie if repeated enough becomes stronger than the truth itself. It is with this in mind that I write to correct what I consider to be a blatant lie and clear misrepresentation which has been repeated ad nausem by the media.
It is public knowledge that former Justice Minister Herbert Volney made several damaging, malicious statements against me in the aftermath of his dismissal from the Cabinet. I was blamed for Section 34 fiasco and was the subject to an all-out attack.
Mr. Volney went so far as to allege that I had conspired with the Honourable Chief Justice and DPP to contrive a false case against him so that to oust him from the Cabinet. These scandalous public attacks were all set out in the Claim filed in the High Court and the letter of apology from Mr. Volney and copies were provided to the media.
I initiated legal proceedings against Mr. Volney in November 2013 because I reject these baseless and malicious allegations. I have therefore been fighting him with the instrument of the law to vindicate my character and reputation for quite some time now. Mr. Volney indicated that he was desirous of settling this case by agreeing to the legal relief and remedies that were being sought by me through the court.
Under the Civil Proceedings Rules of Court, a litigant cannot refuse a reasonable offer of settlement as the rules are specifically designed to promote and facilitate early settlement of disputes. Indeed, I could be penalized by the court for rejecting a reasonable settlement offer and be ordered to pay Mr. Volney’s legal fees if I persisted with my claim in the face of his concession. In the circumstances, I was legally and duty bound to consider and accept his offer as it complied with the orders I was asking the Court to make against him.
On May 20th, 2014 your headline story entitled “Volney 18 months later; AG had nothing to do with Section 34 fiasco” stated “Ramlogan said he would consider a suggestion by Volney that he could contribute to the government’s fight against crime in a judicial or juridical role, so long as there was no political affiliation”. This is completely false as I made no such statement. Indeed, the government has no power over judicial appointments which are made by the independent Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) chaired by the Chief Justice.
I am amazed that such a fabrication could be published without any attempt to verify same. It would be a reckless and irresponsible statement deserving of censure as it amounts to an illegal trespass on the constitutional jurisdiction of the JLSC by the Government. This ridiculous false assertion was clearly designed to undermine the integrity of the settlement by implying there was some sort ofquid pro-quo arrangement. In other words, there was more in the mortar than just the pestle.
To compound matters, the lie was repeated in your editorial of May 21st 2014 entitled “Say what Mr Volney?!”. It stated ‘the apology apparently opens the way for rapprochement between the fired Justice Minister and the Government judging from the Attorney General’s intent to consider Mr. Volney’s suggestion of contributing to the Government’s fight against crime in a judicial or juridical role so long as there is no political affiliation”. It is astonishing that this statement could form the basis for the editorial of your newspaper without any attempt to double check the facts. This is not only unethical, but downright frightening.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on and this lie was travelling fast. Your columnist Keith Subrero on May 25th, 2014 in his column “From Reshmi to Room 201” gleefully perpetuated the lie: “Don’t forget. The AG said that Volney has offered to play “a judicial or juridical role in the government’s fight against crime”. Other commentators in the media and on the local blogs have pounced upon this erroneous statement and used it as the basis for all manner of negative speculation and inference against me. Journalists have actually gone so far as to quote the actual figure that Mr. Volney supposedly received as a bribe to settle this matter by asking him whether he received $3.2 million. What nonsense!
This was a hard-fought legal battle that should not be devalued because Mr. Volney capitulated when confronted with the truth. The media wields awesome power and can destroy the truth. It can ruin a person’s life. It therefore has a responsibility to be more careful with the facts. Dishonest or reckless reporting that distorts the truth serve to fuel the perception that there is a political agenda secreted in the bosom of some operatives in the media. This is unfortunate and must be avoided at all costs.
I have taken the trouble to obtain a complete DVD recording of the press conference. I trust that you will listen to it, apologize for this travesty of justice and publish this correction. I end with the words of Winston Churchill “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”