Bar Association slams Attorney General for trivialising lawyer’s arrest

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WhatsApp Image 2022-11-06 at 11.33.30 AM-8f07f2a6
Pauline Chase, President of the Bar Association of Guyana(left), Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC(right)

A STATEMENT BY THE BAR COUNCIL OF THE BAR ASSOCIATION OF GUYANA FOLLOWS: 

IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS MADE BY THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON 4th NOVEMBER, 2022 TOUCHING AND CONCERNING THE UNLAWFUL ARREST AND DETENTION OF MS. TAMIEKA CLARKE, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW AND CONSEQUENTIAL PROTEST ACTION BY THE BAR ASSOCIATION 

The Bar Council of The Bar Association notes the comments made by the Hon. Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, MP on the above caption and published on the Facebook Page of the Department of Public Information on 4th November 2022, in close proximity in timing of, not simultaneously with, the protest actions of the Bar Association. 

In his comments, the Hon. Attorney General states inter alia that he thought that this matter was “… water under the bridge. But obviously there is an aggressive agenda being pursued. And I am not sure to what end.” 

The comments emanating from the Hon. Attorney General demonstrate a lack of awareness of the endemic and systemic abuse of power, disrespect and disregard for the fundamentals of the Rule of Law displayed by members of the Guyana Police Force in their interaction with members of the public and legal profession. 

It might just be that as Attorney-General, many of these police practices and actions must have been hidden from him, as opposed to the Bar Association having a “hidden agenda”. As more and more of these practices not only towards members of the Bar, but to the general public come to light, we trust that the veil which separates the actions of the organs of the state from the advisors of the state is pierced and eventually lifted. 

The Hon. Attorney General in improperly ascribing a “hidden agenda” in the protest of the Bar Association, seeks to conflate the separate issues of the private action being pursued by Ms. Clarke and the wider issue of the Bar Association of the break-down in the Rule of Law through the actions and attitude of the Guyana Police Force towards Attorneys-at-Law and the public at large. 

The arrest of an Attorney-at-Law in Guyana in the execution of her professional duties is unprecedented and a frightening development which has received widespread concern and condemnation locally, regionally and internationally. 

In the circumstances, we wholly reject any allegation or insinuation that the Bar Association has any agenda other than the upholding of the Rule of Law as our constitution mandates us to do.  

It is not “water under the bridge” unless and until the appropriate remedial action is taken.

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