The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) is disappointed that Attorney General Anil Nandlall has chosen to publicly air his views about an ongoing legal matter and condemns his assertion that the association supports criminals.
In a press release, GAWL President Simone Morris-Ramlall said the group has taken note of comments attributed to Nandlall in the September 16 edition of the Guyana Chronicle. While it is not within the mandate of the association to comment publicly on issues not perceived to concern them; GAWL takes exception in this case since a direct challenge was issued to the association, the release said.
GAWL also condemns the assertion by the attorney general that it would support criminals and will contend “that any lawyer worth his salt would not propagate as a general rule that silence equals consent.” The group is also disappointed that “the leader of the Bar who ought to be a conspicuously apolitical figure” is commenting on an ongoing legal matter that is yet to be finally decided by the court.
GAWL believes that Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes is well capable of defending himself should he see it fit and urges the attorney general to vent his concerns at a more appropriate forum. Further, the group contends that if as Nandlall as the attorney general asserts Hughes is a criminal then a report should be made to the police or the Legal Practitioners Committee or if he has evidence in support of the accusations made against Hughes then he should seek an audience with the court without delay.
GAWL also encourages the attorney general to use his esteemed office to provide sound, mature leadership rather than being abusive and disrespectful to civil society organisations. Further, the group looks forward to reading articles of similar prominence where the attorney general comprehensively addresses issues such as violence in society, especially against domestic and sexual violence and trafficking in persons. GAWL would be pleased to engage publicly in such instances in fulfilment of its mandate with respect to the support of justice and equality, especially for women and children, the press release said.