Attorney Vernon De Lima wants to know why House Speaker Wade Mark has blanked him.
De Lima has written to Mark seeking a statement of the reasons for his decision not to grant him an opportunity to reply to National Security Minister Jack Warner’s “defamatory parliamentary pronouncements” about him, which were made in the Parliament on March 8.
Warner had stated that De Lima was present at a meeting in St Joseph, at which 15 persons conspired to destabilise the country.
De Lima has categorically denied he ever attended such a meeting, or knew any of the other persons named by Warner as being in attendance.
The attorney wrote to the Speaker on March 13, seeking the opportunity to respond to Warner.
Mark replied, through a letter sent by Clerk of the House Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, stating that De Lima’s request to have a response placed on the parliamentary record had not received his approval.
The Speaker’s letter gave no reason for the decision.
Clearly not satisfied, De Lima has decided not to let the matter end there. He wants to know why he was not granted a right of reply.
De Lima, in a letter dated March 20, stated: “As a person who has been adversely affected by your decision, I now respectfully request of you, Sir, in accordance with the provisions of Section 16 of the Judicial Review Act No 60 of 2000, a statement of the reasons for you decision.”
Section 16 of the Judicial Review Act states that where a person is adversely affected by a decision to which the act applies, he may request from the decision-maker a statement of the reason for the decision.
The section further states that where the decision-maker fails to comply with a request, the court may make an order to compel such compliance, upon such terms and conditions it thinks just.
Warner named George Bell and former Defence Force soldier Bryan Barrington as participants at the meeting. But Barrington also denied attending any such meeting.
Bell, at whose house the meeting was held, stated neither De Lima nor Barrington was there and that the meeting was held to discuss the state of the country with a view to arriving at solutions./p