Opposition MP Priya Manickchand has mixed feelings about the appointment of 9 Senior Counsel by President David Granger recently after the last appointments were made some 20 years ago.
In the National Assembly today, Manickchand, who should have been debating the proposed Value Added Tax amendment for budget 2017, sought to congratulate Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams SC, and Charles Fung-A-Fat SC, whom were both present in the House.
“And to all the other lawyers,” Manickchand continued, “I am particularly pleased that for the first time we have women.”
“And I’m very disappointed the appointments were made in controversy,” she went on, almost drowned out by disapproving shouts from the government benches. “Because we have so many women who could have been appointed without the controversy.”
With tongue in cheek, Manickchand turned her attention to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, also a decades-long legal practitioner: “I would’ve liked to stand here and congratulate Mr Ramjattan for being appointed.”
Manickchand said while Ramjattan’s management of his ministry might suggest otherwise, she believes he is worthy of ‘silk’, a term used to reference Senior Counsel status in the legal system.
House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland interrupted Manickchand urging she stick to the debate at hand, being the proposed VAT amendment.
Giving justification that she is allowed to congratulate members of the House, Manickchand turned to Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes requesting she “congratulate her husband Mr Nigel Hughes for their appointment.”
This was a clear jab at President David Granger who has come under fire for the non-appointment of long-standing legal practitioner, Nigel Hughes. “Unfortunately that has not been done,” Manickchand quipped.
“I encourage those persons who have not been appointed, who are deserving and who are known to the country to wear that non-appointment badge of honour as part of the movement that exposes the government’s pettiness, and vindictiveness,” Manickchand said before turning to her intended presentation on the VAT amendment.
Among those appointed include Justices Roxanne George-Wiltshire and Claudette Singh, Rosalie Robertson, Attorney General Basil Williams, Neil Aubrey Boston, Charles Fung-A-Fat, Clifton Llewelyn John, Rafiq Khan, and Mr. Vidyanand Persaud.