Former Deputy Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon this evening issued a rebuttal to allegations levelled against her yesterday by the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Her response follows:
PRESS RELEASE OF PRITHIMA KISSOON.
DATED THE 14TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2017.
I have read with considerable consternation and disbelief the complete lack of accuracy and honesty set out in the press release issued by the Chambers of the Attorney General in relation to the termination of my services, my alleged lack of professionalism and dereliction from duty.
The scale and scope of the mendacity of the press release are exceeded only the absence of any relationship between the events and issues set out in the Attorney General’s press release and reality.
It may be apposite to commence with the fact that I have never, prior to commencement of Court proceedings instituted by me against the Attorney General , been accused by the Attorney General or the Public Service Commission of lack of professionalism or dereliction of duty. There is no such charge pending anywhere in the Republic of Guyana.
The basis for my purported termination was that I left the country after I was sent on leave by the Public Service Commission and failed to notify them of this event while I was on leave. Some dereliction of duty.
Perhaps of considerable significance if not of equal importance is the fact that every submission which I have prepared and subsequently presented to any court, first had to be submitted to of the Attorney General for his consideration. I have never failed to provide the Attorney General well in advance with my intended submissions in all matters involving the state. It was the Attorney general who instructed his staff to desist from receiving my draft submissions which led to my emailing them to him well in advance of all court appearances.
If the Attorney General now finds fault with my submissions “ Dear Brutus the error lies not in the stars but in ourselves”.
The remuneration for the position of Deputy Solicitor General is one which is not fixed or determined by my hand or negotiation but rather set and approved by the Honourable members of the National Assembly in which august house the Attorney General sits and I believe approves the expenditure for the post. A privilege I do not enjoy nor over which do I possess any influence.
I was unaware that there were latent considerations and qualifications which from I was precluded for matriculation for the position of Deputy Solicitor General by dint of birth and perhaps ethnicity.
I was never acting Solicitor General; such an appointment has to be made by the Judicial Services Commission.
In the Carvil Duncan case the Attorney General alleges in the press that I inserted information in the affidavits. I drafted the Affidavit of the Honourable Moses Verasammy Nagamootoo, the Prime Minister and First Vice-President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and that of his confidential secretary, Ms. Deeann Ali which were both emailed to the office of the prime minister for review by Ms. Tamara Khan, Legal Officer, for additions and alterations and to the Attorney General which he acknowledged receiving. This is evidenced by email correspondences which are attached to my Affidavit in Reply filed in the High Court and are now a matter of public record in an An Application by Prithima Kissoon in her capacity as The Deputy Solicitor General action no 2017-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA –910.
If the Attorney General felt that I had compromised the pleadings of the Affidavit in Answer of the Prime Minister, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, and his confidential secretary, Ms. Deann Ali, then he had a right and duty to request leave of the court to file supplementary affidavits from the deponents which he did not do and therefore he is laboring under a mistake or fashioning a distortion.
In Hareshnarine Sugrim v National Drainage and Irrigation Authority 2015-HC-DEM-W-193 case I was not permitted to finish my conduct of same because I was sent on administrative leave and as a result never saw the submissions in reply of Counsel, Ms. Abiola Wong Inniss, who appeared for the Plaintiff, Sugrim. The Attorney General had written to the President, H.E. Brigadier David A. Granger, the Honourable Justice Diane Insanally and Ms. Abiola Wong Innis informing them that he would appear personally and conduct the trial before her Honour. The Attorney General wrote and sought numerous adjournments from Her Honour which were granted. However, the Court decided to commence the trial having accommodated his requests for over a month. The trial commenced and concluded without the Attorney General ever appearing.
This matter which involved the sum of three hundred million dollars was not considered of sufficient import for the Attorney General to appear personally, like his predecessors, and conduct the trial and dazzle the Court with his legal acumen after having informed the President and the Court that he would do so.
After, I was prohibited by the Attorney General from conducting matters on behalf of the State and after being sent on administrative leave, the submissions in reply by the Plaintiff were served on the Attorney Generals Chambers.
The Attorney General had the ripe opportunity to respond to Counsel’s submissions and dethrone the Plaintiffs case and remedy any defects in my submissions, yet this did not happen.
The statements of the Attorney General are a deliberate and malicious fabrication of the events surrounding the granting of the consent Order of Court that was given by the Court of Appeal in the matter of the Attorney General v Desmond Morian Action No 2016-HC-DEM-CIV-CM-55, herein after referred to as the “Two Ministers Case”.
The Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, has until now continued to deliberately misconceive and misconstrue the consent Order that was granted by the Chancellor of the Judiciary Mr. Carl Singh (as he then was) after Mr. Nandlall, Attorney-at-law, consented to the continuation of Stay in the “Two Ministers Case”. Mr. Nandlall’s consent resulted in the “Two Ministers” being able to continue to sit in the National Assembly until the hearing and determination of the Appeal filed by the Attorney General. Is this the subversion of the State’s interest that Mr. Basil Williams S.C. is alluding to?
On the 4th November, 2016, I was in the Court of Appeal for three other cases which I had conduct of:
1) Civil Appeal No. 82 of 2016, Appeal by Bheri Ramsarran
2) Civil Appeal No. 72 of 2013, The Public Service Commission et al v Kareem Abdul Jabar for hearing in Chamber
3) Civil Appeal NO. 81 of 2013, Clement Toney v The Registrar of the Supreme Court et al for hearing before the Full Bench.
Whilst there, before the Court was convened, I received a call from Ms. Jones, an office assistant, informing me that I have to appear in addition, to the aforementioned matters for the matter of Civil Appeal No. 16 of 2016, Attorney General v Desmond Morian, to which I responded I was already in Court and embarrassed because I was without the file and expressed shock that I would be given notice of a matter of such grave importance so belatedly, there must be a severe mistake.
I never received a Notice nor was I informed that a Notice was received by the Chambers until I was told by the Chancellor in Court that a notice was received by Ms. C Henry. Ms. Henry is the Personal Assistant to the Solicitor General. I was never instructed that this matter was listed before the Court of Appeal. I received only the frantic call from Ms. Jones, the office assistant, without the written notice or file.
On My return to the Chambers on the 4th November, 2016, I telephoned and duly informed the Attorney General that the matter was heard and the consent order was made. I also informed him that I had not received the Notice prior to my appearance in the Court of Appeal and as a result was without the file and without knowing the facts he verbally abused and insulted me as being incompetent. Whose lack of professionalism are we talking about?
Whereas it is the Attorney General who has distorted the information and clearly attempted to deceive and manipulate the public with regard to what the ‘consent’ in the Order of the Court meant. Even more alarmingly the Attorney General has failed to inform the public that he appealed and applied for the Stay before the Court of Appeal and any consent was in the State’s favour. The Attorney General has clearly attempted to defend his prejudices when his objective from the time he entered the Chambers was to remove me from my post.
In Berbice Bharati Saywah Sanga et al. v The Attorney General No.995/CM of 2001, the Attorney General was advised by me to settle the matter at a lesser sum of seven million dollars which counsel on the other side was willing to accept and he arrogantly refused.
The Court of Appeal in the Berbice Bharati Sawywah Sanga case had made an order by a majority decision that the matter be referred to the High Court for the sole and only determination on the quantum of damages. The former government, the PPP/C had compulsorily acquired the Sangha premises for the building of what is now popularly called “The University of Guyana, Berbice Tain Campus”.
The Attorney General remained heedless to my advice both orally and tendered in writing, to settle the matter out of court on the quantum of compensation for seven (7) million dollars. Mr. Murseline Bacchus, attorney-at-law, had written to the Attorney General as well seeking a settlement and was willing to accept this lesser sum. The Attorney General is using the judgment of a competent court as a baseless attack upon me.
The court awarded judgment in total the sum of thirty (30) million dollars. The judge, the Honourable Justice Sandra Kurtzious ordered and found that the Plaintiffs/Applicants are entitled to compensation. They were previously paid $3 million, thus the court ordered that the Plaintiffs/Applicants be paid the sum of $17.8 million as full and final compensation for the compulsory acquisition of their property.
If the Attorney General perceived the aberration of which he complained against me why did he not assign other counsel to the cases to appear and present same in court or appear himself personally which he has often undertaken to do but never did. In the Sugrim case he wrote to the judge, the Honourable Justice Diane Insanally, Counsel for the Plaintiff, Ms. Abiola Wong-Inniss and the President, that he will be appearing personally and sought numerous adjournments to do so, but never did.
The Attorney General has libeled me in the press in the Attorney General v Bharrat Jagdeo case. The Appeal in the Jagdeo case was filed by the Solicitor General, who has publicly stated that the Attorney General was adamant he be named as the appellant. At the time the Appeal was filed I was on vacation leave and with the oral approval of the Attorney General I had left the jurisdiction.
The Attorney General had neglected to disclose that he had in his possession a copy of the prepared Affidavit in Answer that I emailed to him four (4) times on diverse days and gave a copy to his confidential secretary, Ms. Demi Hipplewith. I waited on his instructions, comments, additions or alterations to the submitted Affidavit in Answer but none were forthcoming. The Attorney General was, therefore, at all times apprised of the content of the Affidavit in Answer and my written submissions to the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Basil Williams S.C., who appeared in person before the Court of Appeal on the 9th January, 2017, sought leave of the court to lay over and serve further written submissions in response if necessary to the submissions made by counsel for Mr. Jagdeo, Mr. Murseline Bacchus, by the 13th January, 2017. The Attorney General never filed the Affidavit in Answer, never argued his case orally or in written submissions as a legal luminary and eminent counsel.
A mere statement from the Attorney General is deceiving the nation that there is a wicked conspiracy that is “in each case mentioned, the ministry noted that former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, was the attorney representing the other parties.” It seems that the Honourable Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams S.C., is unaware of the counsel who appeared for the parties in Court and for his benefit I will inform him:
1) The Attorney General v Bharrat Jagdeo: Mr. Murseline Bacchus, Attorney at law
2) Sugrim v NDIA: Mrs. Abiola Wong Inniss, Attorney-at-law
3) Berbice Sangha case: Mr. Murseline Bacchus, Attorney at law
4) Application by Carvil Duncan: Mr. Anil Nandlall, Attorney at law, which is incomplete and the Attorney General thought it fit to publicly berate and humiliate the Honourable Justice Franklin Holder.
5) The Attorney General v Desmond Morian: Mr. Anil Nandall, attorney at law, consented, to the benefit of the State, to continuation of the stay which the Attorney General had applied for until the hearing and determination of the case.
What a Tangled Web We Weave When at first We Practice to Deceive.
My Complaint lies dead at the Public Service Commission, however, the memoranda which touched and concerned the above mentioned cases and my responses thereto are contained within my Affidavit in Reply in the High Court in action no 2017-HC-DEM-CIV-FDA –910 and are now a public record. My Reply was filed in response to the allegations by Ms. Melissa Tucker, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, in her Affidavit in Answer.
In March 2017, I was informed by the PSC that I should proceed on Administrative Leave with immediate effect pending the outcome of investigations in to several court matters that I had conduct of. The PSC did not give a period or time limit with regard to how long I was to remain on administrative leave and there were no conditions attached to my administrative leave. I was effectively relieved from duty by the PSC pending the outcome of the investigations. I was now under the authority of the PSC.
The Public Service Commission, through its Secretary, Ms. Marvalyn Stephens had advised that if I intended to travel overseas I must inform them and provide contact details. As a result of receiving this written advice I wrote to the PSC, as per their instructions, that I would be travelling out of the jurisdiction and provided two contact numbers and an email address for any pertinent communication regarding their enquires.
Unfortunately, the Attorney General at the moment is unaware of what transpired at the unlawful, unconstitutional and illegal Commission of Inquiry. There are copious notes and recordings of what transpired at the Commission of Inquiry, let him not pre-judge the matter as it is subject of an appeal. Perhaps, he may want to delay my appeal as he did my complaint to the Public Service Commission. The Attorney General is not authorized to speak on that subject and the illegality will be highlighted in due course.
It appears that the only court that the Attorney General seeks to try me is in the media with distorted, fabricated falsehoods to which he has easy access. If the Attorney General had appeared before a tribunal or Commission of Inquiry his public persecution of me would never have been necessary. This persecution of me in the press is to conceal his hidden agenda of replacing me with one of his chosen, which the public will in due course learn.
In the cases that the Attorney General states that I failed to appear in, the Attorney General may wish to consider listing these dates and cases along with the Court’s record of the proceedings so that the public may make its own determination.
I was absent from the office in January, 2017, due to an unexplained home invasion in which only my laptops, my flash drive, mobile phones were stolen the other items of considerable more value curiously were left untouched This strange incident was reported to the police and I was hospitalized as a result of the incident.
It is a most unfortunate development that the once highly regarded office of the Attorney General has now found a new area of professional comfort where its obvious inherent expertise is displayed by conduct more commonly associated with domestic poultry.
I believe the appropriate forum for these matters is the court, a venue at which I look forward to engaging the Attorney General.
DATED THIS 14TH DAY OF October 2017.