Ottley Hall Inquiry put back again
February 9, 2007

Ottley Hall Inquiry put back again

After waiting almost three years for its resumption, Vincentians will have to wait another five weeks for the continuation of the Ottley Hall Inquiry.

Commissioner of the Inquiry, Justice Ephraim Georges adjourned the hearings to March 15 upon the request of Counsel for the Commission Anthony Astaphan, after a number of persons summoned indicated by letter that they were not prepared or were unable to attend the first day’s session on Monday.{{more}}

Justice Georges then sent out a stern warning to anyone attempting to prolong the hearings.

Georges said that the inquiry which was launched on April 28, 2003 and began public hearings November that year, should have been long concluded and a report handed in to the relevant authorities.

However an unsuccessful legal challenge in May 2004 by former chairman of the National Commercial Bank Richard Joachim and former senator and technical engineering supervisor of the project Glenford Stewart, questioning the validity of the instruments which set up the commission, and the appointment of the commissioner, resulted in a two and a half year delay.

“The interest of justice demands, and it is now incumbent on the commission to press on with its mandate, and bring this matter to an early conclusion without any further delay or expense”. Georges said. “Citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are entitled to no less.”

Georges said the commission had in the past granted a number of adjournments to key persons in the inquiry, namely Joachim and Bertram Commissiong, but this will not continue when the hearing convenes next month.

“How much more time does Mr. Commissiong really need? It is manifestly plain that all this puts the commission in an embarrassing position, and steps will be taken to ensure that this will not recur. We’ll be taking a firm line on this.”

Other persons expected to testify at the hearing include Beverly Brisbane, Brian Glasgow, Glenford Stewart and former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell.

The inquiry will reconvene at the Sunset Shores Hotel conference room.