The holder of the office of Attorney-General is regarded traditionally, albeit informally, as the leader of the Bar and the members of the Guyana Bar Association should be able to take the incumbent, the Honourable Mohabir Anil Nandlall, MP seriously. That becomes difficult when we are confronted with the puerile logic of the statements attributed to Mr Nandlall in the Guyana Chronicle report dated September 16, “Crime situations in Guyana… Several human rights organisations assisting crime by their silence – AG Nandlall.” Effectively, Mr Nandlall is reported to say that civic organizations supported criminals when they did not comment on accusations of professional misconduct levelled by him it seems, against Mr Nigel Hughes, attorney-at-law. The post-independence history of Guyana will show that the organisations which Mr Nandlall disparages have been champions of democracy and human rights. Frankly, we are pleased to be associated with them. Had such an irresponsible statement emanated from an ordinary citizen we would have regarded it as merely ill-informed. But given his office, Mr Nandlall is being reckless. We hope that on sober reflection he will realise that in his attempt to brand us as proponents of criminal activity and conduct, he is bringing his profession and office into disrepute and contempt.
In respect of the Attorney-General’s accusations, Mr Hughes is more than capable of speaking for himself, but, to set the record straight, it should be noted that Mr Hughes’ actions at Buxton immediately after Mr Hamilton’s murder have been explained by him previously as an attempt to secure evidence. That explanation is entirely plausible. The inability of the police and/or the joint services to collect and secure relevant evidence from a crime scene is notorious. We see no reason to doubt Mr Hughes’ stated motives. Mr Hughes’ attorney-client relationship with the foreman of the Lusignan murder trial jury and its effect and implications, may be a matter of professional discipline that falls outside the direct remit of the Bar. Professional discipline amongst lawyers is the remit of the Legal Practitioners Committee, a tribunal with which Mr Nandlall is no doubt acquainted. If the Attorney-General wishes to press a case against Mr Hughes, that should be the forum he chooses. In our experience, facts and due process are more useful than a press conference.
Ronald G Burch-Smith
Guyana Bar Association