Letter written in response to criticism of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s achievement booklet, which was featured only in the hardcopy of the Trinidad Express yesterday and not the online version. The letter criticising the Ministry of the Attorney General however was featured most prominently on the Express’ website on Thursday. Propaganda as usual with them.
See below for the letter by “Richard Ramnarine” criticising the Ministry of the Attorney General. The letter from the Ministry of the Attorney General in response:
We write in response to your letter of the day entitled, “What achievements, AG?”
The author criticises the achievements of the Ministry of the Attorney General. Our responses to his points are as follows.
1. OPV arbitration- It is completely inaccurate to describe the settlement of this arbitration as recession of contract that simply puts the country back in its original position as if no transaction had taken place. This description reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of what was gained in the settlement of this billion dollar arbitration. BAE sued Trinidad and Tobago and our risk exposure was over one billion dollars.
Rescission was never an issue. The arbitration was based on breach of contract and wrongful termination. Instead of having to pay BAE, Trinidad and Tobago ended up with $1.4 billion dollars. The successful settlement against one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturer is significant and made international news. The best way to illustrate this accomplishment however is to ask the question, “Had the Attorney General (AG) lost the arbitration what would have been the public’s opinion?”
2. Claims against Calder Hart, Malcolm Jones, e TecK, UTT, Brian Copeland-
The writer states that, “Anyone can file a claim against someone else. I can file a claim against Calder Hart.” This might be so but it begs the question why no such action was taken before. The filing of civil fraud and negligence cases against directors by the State is unprecedented in our political and legal history. The AG has won many historic and landmark cases during his legal career that no one thought possible and we therefore await the outcome of these historic cases.
3. Former finance minister loses against Attorney General-
Again, had former Finance Minister, Karen Nunez-Tesheira won her case against the State. I suspect the writer would have been singing a different tune. He claims the AG is incompetent but fails to realize that the best measurement of competence is the Ministry’s outstanding success in legal matters filed against the State.
4. Civil Child Abduction Authority- The writer cites a statement made by the former Attorney General, Brigid Annisette-George in 2008, promising that the authority would be established by the end of September. The Authority was never in fact set up as promised. This Authority was only properly constituted in 2011 when a unit was established and a director appointed.
5. Appointment of marriage officers and commissioners of affidavits- Why criticize the simple mention of the fact that numerous Marriage Officers, JPs and Commissioners of Affidavits have been appointed? This was deliberately mentioned because this aspect of the Ministry’s function has been neglected in the past, for example, prior to AG’s new appointments in this area the last Commissioner of Affidavit in Tobago was appointed some 18 years ago and the last JP some 15 years ago. The AG also broke with tradition by introducing proper handing over ceremonies for the people of Tobago. The ceremony in Tobago was an outstanding success.
6. Section 34- Perhaps the author missed the recent court victory in this matter against the State. This too is an achievement. Had the result been otherwise it would have resulted in condemnation and vituperation of the worst kind. It was the AG who signed the order to extradite the defendants who are the centre of this controversy. He defended the State against a powerful battery of international lawyers. With respect to his attempt to cast blame on AG Ramlogan for Section 34. Permit me to quote the former Minister of Justice from a Guardian report on November 11, 2012, “I take full responsibility for it. If it had been felt in the motion there was a fiasco, then someone should have to take ministerial responsibility for it. Then I would have been that person. And I accept it with grace.” “Ramlogan is not responsible for the enactment and proclamation.”
The summary of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s achievements under the tenure of AG Ramlogan had to be curtailed because of the limited budget for the cost of advertising. We would however be quite happy to provide the author with a more comprehensive list, should he so desire. I would also like to invite him to visit our Ministry’s website at www.ag.gov.tt.
Ministry of the Attorney General
Letter Originally written which was featured in the Express online version:
Story Created: Jun 5, 2013 at 10:03 PM ECT
Story Updated: Jun 5, 2013 at 10:29 PM ECT
It has become clear the Honourable Attorney General is attempting once again to disguise his incompetence and error-ridden tenure (some may claim it is deliberate) by publishing a hollow “achievement” document in the Express.
The Attorney General lists as accomplishments:
1. OPV arbitration.
This is not an achievement since a refund of our money from BAE is simply a rescission of contract and is just taking the country back to its original position had no transaction taken place. The net effect is: no money paid, no OPVs received and that is the position the country would have been in had this transaction not taken place.
2. Claims against Calder Hart, Malcolm Jones, e TecK, UTT, Brian Copeland.
These claims are in process. Nothing tangible or intangible has been delivered. An ongoing process is not a deliverable. Anyone can file a claim against someone else. I can file a claim against Calder Hart.
Whether I win or not is another issue and it is that which will determine the “achievement”.
In essence, these “achievements” are empty and warrant no further discussion. As a matter of fact, this may even be a burden on the Treasury because millions will be spent on legal fees to lawyers not affiliated with the Attorney General.
3. Former finance minister loses against Attorney General.
How on earth can this be an achievement? Karen Nunez-Tesheira is well within her rights to challenge the Civil Proceeding Rules. What if there existed a flaw?
Defending this is, by no stretch of the imagination, an achievement. Is the Attorney General advocating no one should be able to challenge constitutional and civil procedures? How does he expect the law to evolve?
4. Civil Child Abduction Authority.
The International Child Abduction Act 2008 was assented to on June 25, 2008. “A statement from the Ministry of the Attorney General yesterday indicated Attorney General Bridgid Annisette-George gave the commitment the authority would be established by the end of September. The authority is now operational and located in the ministry’s Cabildo Chambers offices in Port of Spain,” Newsday, October 20, 2008. No more to say on this.
5. Appointment of marriage officers and commissioners of affidavits.
Come on, Attorney General, is this your big achievement after three years? Well, for sure you have to be the best Attorney General ever to have accomplished such a herculean task.
6. Section 34.
This is really the only significant achievement the Attorney General has made because to conceive such a brilliant idea by using the sanctity of the Parliament to achieve what we really know the intention of Section 34 to be is truly amazing. Time will tell, though, how this statement is to be interpreted. I already know the true intentions of Section 34. Do you?
You know what is amazing about this entire pull-out? Just knowing the Attorney General wrote or had something to do with it, I knew it had to be laced with incompetence, disguised as achievements.
Just a little research confirmed my suspicions.
If there were anymore “achievements” listed that I did not mention, let me make it clear that it isn’t because it was actually an achievement; it just didn’t make sense going on anymore.
I would like to advise the Honourable Attorney General that a silent tongue keeps a wise head.