According to the Guyana Chronicle of Saturday, October 26, 2013 Mr. Anil Nandlall, Attorney General, commenting on what he referred to as a gag order by a judge in a pending legal matter in the High Court states: “In our legal system, the holder of the office of Attorney General is the protector of the public’s legal interest and the defender of the Constitution of Guyana…” These are astounding powers with which Mr. Nandlall seeks to clothe himself, apparently simply by stating so. He has no such role, functions or powers.
On the issue in which he gratuitously inserts himself, Mr. Nandlall cites principles and authorities mainly from the UK which does not have a written constitution and would therefore be of doubtful authority, and from India, which does. Yet his singular acknowledgement to Guyana is a case of dubious relevance to the substance of what he attempted to address.
Incredibly, while the post of Attorney General is a creation of the Constitution of Guyana, Mr. Nandlall omits to cite Article 112 which sets out in clear language the role of the Attorney General. That article states:
“There shall be an Attorney General of Guyana who shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government of Guyana and who shall be appointed by the President.”
Mr. Nandlall should now assist Guyanese by identifying for us those Articles of the Constitution which in his learned opinion make him the protector of the public’s legal interest and the defender of the Constitution of Guyana. And he must also explain to us his failure to defend our interest in the several violations of mandatory provisions of the Constitution including the requirements for an Ombudsman (Article 191), Public Procurement Commission (Article 121 W) and local government elections (Article 71).
Neither Mr. Nandlall nor his Chambers appeared in the matter in which the Judge made the order and unless he has apprised himself of both text and context of the order it seems completely out of place for him to describe the Judge’s ruling as a “misuse, if not an abuse” of a legal principle. Assuming that he was approached in whatever capacity by the party against whom the order was made, the proper course of action for him was to refer the party to their legal counsel to seek such redress as is available under the law.
I hope that there is one thing that Mr. Nandlall and I will agree on, and that is, the importance of restoring dignity to the office of the Attorney General to which much damage has been done over the past decade.