Monday, February 19, 2018

...AG: Donaldson-Honeywell must clear the air

Only former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell can say if she sent the letter dated October 28, 2013 to the Office of the Prime Minister, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan stated yesterday.

“It is in the public interest that she provides clarification on this because she did in fact advise me that it was sent and forwarded a signed copy to my office,” he stated.

The Attorney General was responding to the release issued by former solicitor general Eleanor J Donaldson-Honeywell SC. He took issue with a number of the issues raised by the former solicitor general.

Donaldson-Honeywell had stated that she was “required by the Attorney General to let the Prime Minister know that the matter she had raised with her, (by letter dated August 30, 2013, in which she raised concerns about prison litigation) was being addressed and her further intervention was not needed”. Donaldson-Honeywell stated that she did “draft” a letter but had no knowledge what became of it.

She shied away from the issue of whether she signed the letter that was drafted or not, leaving that critical issue unclear. Ramlogan however maintains in his release that she provided him with a “signed copy”.

Addressing Donaldson-Honeywell’s statement in the release that the Constitution did not give the Solicitor General exclusive authority in determining matters, including settlement or payment of damages, Ramlogan said the Solicitor General’s Department acted independently in making recommendations on this issue.

“The AG cannot settle any matter on his own. The Chief State Solicitor and Solicitor General’s departments are independent departments under the supervision and control of the Chief State Solicitor and the Solicitor General. The lawyers are not selected by the AG but are appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC),” he stated.

Ramlogan said he did in fact investigate the concerns raised by former solicitor general (SG), concerning prison brutality cases. “I have found no evidence whatsoever to substantiate the allegations that lawyers in the Chief State Solicitor’s (CSS) department or the Solicitor General’s department were in collusion with prisoners or their attorneys to procure a favourable settlement.”

The Attorney General said he requested a report from the Acting SG, Carol Hernandez, on the specific cases raised and the documents on file revealed that none of the cases had in fact been settled.

Ramlogan said he remained ready and willing to investigate any case in which there is a cause for concern. “But I cannot and will not allow a cloud of suspicion to be cast over the heads of my attorneys without a shred of evidence. Should I find any evidence that is of concern, I will immediately refer the attorney (internal or external) for disciplinary action to the JLSC and the Law Association,” he said.