Lewis: NDP and Bar snubbed at launch of Revised Laws of SVG
May 20, 2011
Lewis: NDP and Bar snubbed at launch of Revised Laws of SVG

New President of the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Bar Association Dr.Linton Lewis is charging that the local Bar and the Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) were snubbed{{more}} at last Tuesday’s official launch of the 2009 Edition of the Revised Laws of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Lewis, in an interview with the media following the ceremony at the House of Assembly, expressed disgust that neither the Bar Association nor the Opposition was asked to deliver remarks at the event, which he claims is necessary in any country that has a rule of law. He added that a collective approach would have had a more far reaching impact.

“You have in the House of Parliament the Government and the Opposition being part of a legislature. So you would have anticipated something as significant as this would have involved contribution from the Opposition bench. This morning one noticed that no member of the Opposition was allowed to take any significant part, even to make any form of remarks.

“You would also notice that the persons who made remarks: Michelle Fife, Rochelle Forde, Ronnie Marks, Arthur Williams, Colin Williams have all had direct connection with the Unity Labour Party, either in the form of being a senator or as in the case of Arthur Williams, being a member of Parliament in the Labour Party administration and attorney general.

“The absence of any member of the Opposition was glaring, and to my mind ridiculous. The Bar Association was never consulted in so far as the launching is concerned, and no one on the Bar Association was asked to make any presentation or to suggest or submit any persons to make representation on its behalf,” said Lewis.

Lewis admitted that as the President of the Bar Association he received an invitation to attend the ceremony. SEARCHLIGHT understands that the Opposition was also invited to the ceremony.

Lewis is also Chairman of the NDP.

Lewis said the Bar Association not being called upon to participate in the event reinforces his argument that the operation of the Bar Association should be devoid of politics.

“The whole effort is to ensure that there is a brotherhood and sisterhood, that the Bar is unified, irrespective of someone’s political allegiance, that the Bar should be seen as a body that will not conduct its affairs on the basis of politics, partisan political politics, but it will do what is necessary for the interest of its members and in the interest of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, not in the interest of a political party,” said Lewis.

Lewis said following the ceremony, he was approached by a number of lawyers who indicated to him that they were not happy that the Bar Association and Opposition were left out from making an input into the ceremony.

He opined that had an invitation been given to the Bar Association and the Opposition to speak, “it would not have appeared as if it is really a ULP issue, because you see, the revised laws are very significant.”

Lewis said he wants everyone to understand that the Bar Association “is a very important body in the legal framework of this country.”

When contacted, Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan said she did not wish to comment about Lewis’s claims.(HN)