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In a recent missive, Robin Singh penned a sharp attack on the Attorney General without justifiable reasons. The attack aroused my curiosity. Why this attack on the AG and did it receive prior or post publication approval of the Vice President? It comes across as a continuation of the undermining of the esteemed AG. It suggests all is not well with Nandlall and Jagdeo.
Mr. Robin Singh is known to have a very close relationship with Bharrat Jagdeo going back several years. He has done a lot of writings about and for him. He is generally seen as a fierce defender and supporter of Jagdeo. When Jagdeo was Opposition Leader, Robin Singh worked for him.
Instead of penning a public excoriation of Mr. Anil Nandlall, he could have simply made a phone call to the AG and query why the AG appeared on a program with Nigel Hughes. Does the letter signal that the Vice President is not pleased with the action of the Honou
It would be recalled that on August 2 2020, that Nandlall was not the first choice for AG. An attorney from Skeldon was promised the position. Nandlall was offered Home Affairs to which he declined, forcing the President/VP to appoint Nandlall as AG. One also recalls the skullduggery and forcing of hands that occurred in 2019 during the selection of the PPP’s presidential candidate. Jagdeo preferred Irfann Ali and used his power to guarantee the nomination, not dissimilar to what happened in 2011 that led to disastrous consequences for the PPP.
Mr. Singh and his handlers should be reminded that had it not been for Nandlall’s in depth knowledge of the constitution and judicial cases, including Esther Perrera matter, and his commitment to the party, the PPP would have been out of office. They seem to forget that it was Nandlall who is primarily responsible for PPP being in office and Irfaan as President and Jagdeo as VP. It was his legal brilliance that prevented the swearing in of David Granger after the Mingo second declaration.
The Trinidad attorney Douglas Mendez did not want to file a challenge to Mingo’s bed sheet declaration in March 2020, stating emphatically to Jagdeo that the PPP did not have a legal case. Mendez advised that an election petition was the option, which would have meant a declaration of Mingo results, swearing in of Granger as President, and then an election petition. Nandlall insisted on filing a court challenge on the Mingo count. Mendez was not going to make arguments in the case. It was Nandlall who pleaded and who prepared the arguments and convinced Mendez to present the case in court. Mendez did so brilliantly. The Chief Justice ruled in favor of the challenge, and Mingo’s bedsheet results were rejected. This would lead to CARICOM intervention, the recount, and declaration in favor of the PPP. Without Nandlall, PPP, Irfaan, and Jagdeo would have been history.
Robin Singh is adamantly opposed to Mr. Nigel Hughes’s involvement in a judicial Dialogue Solutions’ mediation service in Guyana.
The AG was invited to deliver opening remarks. He is the Chief Legal Officer of the country. Would he not appear on the forum because of Hughes’s involvement? Hughes is an opponent of the government and yes he has biases but these are not any different from the biases of Singh or Jagdeo or President Ali. As a lawyer, Singh should know that lawyers are paid servants of their clients and their job is to advocate the position of the client as best as possible within the ambits of the law. Hughes did what any lawyer would do including I presume Singh and should not be lambasted for his lawyerly representations of clients.
It is a very tactical for Nandlall to make appearance at the mediation forum and to give the keynote address to an audience that included the former President of the CCJ. How better can an officer of the government show the public and an audience of legal luminaries that the government is serious about inclusionary politics when he embraces an advocate of the opposition and includes him in a mediation a panel. It speaks volumes of the government’s inclusionary policies to reach out to an opposition figure. Such outreach and inclusionary involvement is needed now more than ever when the opposition and the ruling parties are not on speaking terms.
It should also be noted that while Nigel Hughes is generally seen as a pro-African advocate, he has on several occasions in the past called out the PNC on biased and poor governance. He became Chair of AFC which was supposed to be a multi-racial party, but he resigned because of differences with the leadership and behavior of Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan. Hughes was also on record opposing the coalition’s cancellation of the PPP lease of the Jagan Center at Red House and the raid on the building that destroyed the façade and broke down the front gate. He was opposed to the closure of the four sugar estates. He also represented Azeena Baksh, a PPP activist, who was unjustly removed from the registrar by then Attorney General Basil Williams. Nigel Hughes stood up for her rights to the arrogant bullying. Hughes won the case and Ms. Baksh is back at Registrar.
In closing, principles dictate that Robin Singh and his handlers should not have attacked Nandlall and or Hughes. Nandlall fought off electoral fraud including the biases at the Court and intimidation by hoodlums. It may be that promises were made to Singh and others of an esteemed title like that being carried by Nandlall. Such upward mobility is not practical. Nandlall’s shoes are too big and will not fit in the feet of others. And if one looks at the cabinet of this government, most are viewed as failures. Singh would be well advised to keep his views about Nandall to himself rather than embarrass himself in public with that missive.