Reference is made to the letter ‘The AG must act in a way consistent with the responsibility of his office’ (SN, October 2) which purportedly attempts to communicate my thoughts in response to the Attorney General’s (AG) letter ‘The President has untrammelled freedom to assent to and withhold assent from Bills (SN, September, 30). It is one thing when the media has to edit for grammar, libel and perhaps taste, but another thing when the media is engaged in rewriting one’s letter using the person’s name and deleting parts that seek to scrutinise and condemn actions having made the verifiable case. This is a dangerous practice which was previously drawn to your attention since said practice is communicating to the society I am either schizophrenic or inconsistent on the issues I speak to, neither of which is true.
Apart from taking serious objection to deletions where mention was made of the AG’s violation of the law he swore to uphold in regards to his licence from the GRA as, the scrutiny of his understanding of the constitution and laws as they relate to governance and making pronouncements based on these anomalies, specific attention is drawn the following:
1) The letter submitted to SN said: “Further, to tell the nation the shenanigans being applied for not having the outstanding Bills on the president’s desk constitute…”
SN rewrites: “Further, to tell the nation the shenanigans being applied for not having the outstanding Bills on the president’s desk signed constitute…”
A comparison of the two reveals marked distinction. While I have made the case for the outstanding bills to be on the president’s desk, SN under my pen has made a case that the bills are already on the president’s desk and should be signed. The latter I do not know and can therefore make no such pronouncement. My position on outstanding bills, based on the AG’s public pronouncements, is that these bills should be given to the president. It would also be recognised that were I to make the attributed statement it would be necessary to also examine timeline returning to the Speaker which the constitution mandates and I would not have ignored.
2) My letter stated: “Second, what is dishonest about the AG’s letter…”
SN rewrites: “What is flawed about the AG’s letter….”
Stabroek News is ascribing to me a view I do not hold. Having examined the AG’s pronouncements on governance in relation to the constitution and laws the view is not held that such utterings constitute “flawed” thinking but one of blatant dishonesty and I called it for what it is. The AG is not devoid of grasping with rudimentary understanding but is knowingly engaging in misrepresentation, hoping he can mislead the society and get away with the political shenanigans. It is dishonesty to argue a case of “untrammelled freedom…” and “convention” regarding the treatment of bills when the constitutional citations the AG uses vest no such prerogative in the president and the issue of convention was clarified by none other than attorney- at-law Bryn Pollard SC, former Chief Parliamentary Counsel. Clearly, were the AG seeking edification he would have used an approach other than engaging in an excursion into irrelevant references.
Insisting on ascribing to me thoughts I do not subscribe to or said is not only wrong but places me in a position to be discredited. I urge SN to desist from this practice. The letter of October 2, is not mine and I would appreciate the public being so informed.
1. The initial paragraphs of Mr Lewis’s letter which stated that Mr Nandlall was flouting the law “by refusing to possess the certificate as one of the prerequisites for him to continue to ply his profession” and the conclusions he drew therefrom were indeed edited. We should like to draw Mr Lewis’s attention to the fact that the Attorney General has gone on record as saying that under the Tax Act he is exempt from having to obtain a Practice Certificate. Having excised the section, SN had to create a link between the beginning of the letter and the first paragraph we printed.
2. We also edited some of Mr Lewis’s ad hominem remarks about the AG; the letters column is primarily intended for the rational exchange of views.
3. Mr Lewis’s complaint which he lists as point 1), represented a misreading on the part of SN of a sentence which was ambiguously formulated and where it appeared as if a word had been omitted.