I have sedulously sought refuge in my self-imposed retirement to retain my sanity, away from the cut and thrust of my quondam public engagements, both parliamentary and judicial. Notwithstanding this, it has not escaped my notice that several commentators, pandering to public approbation or notoriety, have critically referred to my work in public office, especially but not exclusively, as it related to the ‘Lotto funds.‘ You will have to forgive me for citing them by name for the occasions have been too disparate and sometimes egregious. Christopher Ram and D Trotman even had the temerity to seek judicial imprimatur for their vexatious excursion into a flight of fancy which curial scrutiny rejected, albeit belatedly. Mr Trotman‘s raison d’être was best articulated, ironically, by himself in his testimony before the Linden Commission of Inquiry.
Two professionals had impressed me as having a modicum of self-respect, Anand Goolsarran and Carl Greenidge, in the latter‘s letter to the Stabroek News of January 12, 2013, both ex-public officials, have recently joined in the cacophony of misinformation. Let me make it pristinely clear for archival purposes that my professional opinion has never been given, gratuitously or for remuneration, unsolicited. Cabinet memoranda will confirm that President B Jagdeo solicited by way of presidential instructions that I present to the Cabinet a legal opinion on the funds generated from the CBN Lottery and the Ministry of Housing. It is now history that my “solicited” opinion, albeit unfavourable to the parliamentary opposition elements, whose public demands that these moneys ought to have been sent directly to the Consolidated Fund at the time, has been given the blessing of a High Court judge. I will be bold to state it was during my last tenure as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs that the affidavits-in-answer were filed and submissions made, using the same opinion as the premise for rejecting their spurious action filed against the state.
It may come as a surprise that it was Mr Goolsarran’s ‘unsolicited‘ view expressed in his reports prior to the expiry of his tenure as Auditor General in 2005 that was the source of the ensuing controversy. The current Auditor General persisted in this erroneous approach until he was made aware of my opinion which ministers relied upon at the PAC meetings at which he was present. I never issued an opinion to him because his office is constitutionally independent.
I may be mistaken but my information is that this reluctant, if not involuntary, returnee, after his stint at the UN, has conceded his ineligibility to pronounce on substantial legal issues by categorizing himself as a “quasi-attorney,“ whatever that means. Thinking outside of the box is an especial quality possessed by some of the more successful people, both in private and public office. Mr Greenidge should know better, having been exposed to an education in England and European public service.
I have never claimed Economics as my forte but, for sure, the jury is no longer out on my legal expertise! Read my book: In Pursuit of Justice – a Collectanea.
Justice Charles R Ramson SC