Senior lawyers cannot continue to allow a political group to hijack the Bar Association

Dear Editor,

An article captioned ‘Major fallout at Bar Council’ that was published in the February 28, 2018 edition of the Guyana Chronicle, detailed multiple resignations of executive members of the Guyana Bar Association (GBA). The upheaval is ostensibly over disagreements with the partisan, political agenda being pursued by the GBA leadership.

On February 21, 2018, the GBA issued a partisan, politically charged statement attacking President David Granger on his contemplated appointment of a Chancellor of the Judiciary and Chief Justice.  Consequently, I penned letters to the press on February 21 and 25, expressing grave concern about the politicization of the GBA and denounced its reckless and contemptuous attack on the Head of State.

The Guyana Chronicle article quoted a senior member of the GBA as saying, “Another example of the Council’s posture is their recent statement condemning what they ‘anticipate’ would be the President’s actions in the appointment of the Chancellor and Chief Justice, with no indication from the President that he intends to act outside of the provisions of the constitution. These actions have many in the legal fraternity questioning the agenda and motive of the current Bar Council.”

A senior GBA member has impugned the integrity of the executive council and acknowledged its attack on the President was whimsical and without merit. Five executive members have now resigned, allegedly because they disagree with the PPP partisan, political agenda of the executive leadership. This disaster vindicates CGID’s position that the GBA executive  is out of control, which has left the GBA’s credibility in tatters.

If an ordinary attorney knowingly files a meritless, capricious action in the courts and acted contrary to the bar’s canons of ethics, that attorney will be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.  I respect and believe in the honour of the general membership of the GBA. However, the executive leadership has devolved the association into the mouthpiece of the opposition political party of which most of them are members.

GBA members are among the most eloquent professionals the country has produced. They should not remain silent amidst this destruction of their regulatory law body. I therefore call on the general membership of the Bar, especially the eminent members of the inner Bar and other senior lawyers, to demonstrate collective audacity and integrity by raising their voices in dissent of its leadership’s pursuance of a partisan, political agenda, and take resolute action to restore the respect, integrity and dignity of the association. They cannot allow a political group to continue to hijack the GBA.

Yours faithfully,

Rickford Burke

President

Caribbean Guyana Institute for

Democracy (CGID)

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