State judgementsThere have been several criticisms of the State’s performance in Court as regards several legal matters that were recently lost, causing the Government to have to pay out millions of dollars.In this regard, Attorney General (AG) and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams, in defending himself and team, has asserted that he has won more cases than he has lost.Williams noted that many of the cases that he is likely to win have not yet come up for hearing in Court.He said on Monday that while his predecessor, Anil Nandall, has been critical of his work as Attorney General, Nandlall had himself done a poor job when he had held the Attorney General position for several years.Making reference to some issues inherited by the now Government, Williams said: “So there is nothing to show that Nandlall accomplished. What did he accomplish? Nothing! Let’s deal with the successes. If he is talking about the successes, that is one narrow aspect of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. I haven’t done any cases as Minister which Mr Nandlall won,” he explained.The AG was referring to the Constitutional case challenge wherein a citizen has sought the court’s interpretation of the provisions in the Guyana Constitution regarding the two-term limit for Guyana’s presidency, among several other top cases which are still pending.“For example, the Local Government Elections that were held… instead of filing an elections petition, he filed some other procedure; so there is no way he could win it, but it’s not coming up,” the AG added.Further, the AG reminded that the heads are not necessarily physically present for every case, but are represented by lawyers within the Chambers. “We have a number of lawyers. We have a Solicitor General and we have provisions for a Deputy, and you have a Principal Legal Advisor…the whole gamut. And these persons are those that represent the State and the AG Chambers,” he explained.The AG boasted that his Chambers had won several cases, but he was not able to provide substantiating evidence to support this claim.The AG also made known to the media that, as a private lawyer, he would have won several top cases. He said, “I’ve won so many cases in the assizes, there’s no other person sitting in this country in this current generation (who) could say that. But the DPP never came to the assizes and dealt with a case I was in…”Late last year, President David Granger came out in support of Williams, contending that the court cases he had lost were due mainly to inadequate representation by his legal team.He added that there are other cases which are pending, and the AG, like some other Ministers, has to make internal changes in the Ministry in order to get the best quality legal representation.“I do not feel that in the past we had the best representation. Some of the cases which we inherited were lost before we started because the representation was inadequate,” President Granger had said.However, in 2017, it was reported that $100 million had been included in the Legal Affairs Ministry’s budget for the retention of six attorneys to prosecute a number of high-profile cases.Government has, since its assumption to office, lost several cases at the level of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and in the local courts, to Opposition members, large companies, and even private citizens.President Granger had, in 2016, given the occupants of the Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (CJRC) 48 hours to vacate the premises of Red House. This directive was described as “unconscionable and vindictive”.The Opposition later secured two conservatory High Court Orders blocking the State from ejecting the CJRC from the property, once the official residence of the late former President Dr Cheddi Jagan.Another case involved a number of farmers who were granted 50-year leases for State land located in the rear of Number 40 Village, West Coast Berbice. In March of 2016, those farmers received letters from the Mahaica/Mahaicony Abary/Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) informing them that President David Granger had cancelled their leases, and they must cease occupancy and return the land to the MMA/ADA.A group of the farmers filed a lawsuit, and on the same day as the Red House judgment, the acting Chief Justice, Madam Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire, ruled against the President’s revocation of rice farmers’ land leases, deeming it unconstitutional. She also ruled that the farmers were entitled to compensation from the State amounting to the sum of $300,000.Other cases included a $1.5 billion settlement with Demerara Distillers Limited over taxes, and the Chief Justice’s ruling in the Guyana Elections Commission matter, where a private citizen moved to the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of the President’s reasoning in regard to the chairman’s appointment.While the Court acknowledged that the President can determine who fits the bill of “fit and proper”, the Chief Justice overruled the President’s interpretation of the Constitution by finding that there was no particular preference for the appointment of persons who had served within the Judiciary.
John Doherty and a young fan. Photo: Eamonn O’DohertyA remarkable film showing the legendary Donegal fiddler John Doherty playing with the US singer Pete Seeger will be a highlight of the celebration of World Fiddle Day in Glencolumbkille on Saturday next.The short film, recorded in 1964 in Carrick, has been recently rediscovered and will be shown in Oideas Gael at 2.30pm.Other events during the day include open fiddle classes in the morning, and a concert at night in the Folk Village featuring some of Donegal’s finest fiddle players. The celebration is being organised by Donegal fiddle organisation Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí.Rab Cherry of Cairdeas said they were delighted to get the opportunity to show the film.“Pete Seeger, who died in January when he was in his nineties, is one of the big names in the US music scene in the 20th century, and this is remarkable footage of his meeting with John Doherty half a century ago. Some people will be familiar with a small section of this film, but that’s of poor quality in terms of both the sound and the picture. It’s wonderful that the original recording has been unearthed and we’re getting a chance to see it in Glen for World Fiddle Day.”Two fiddlers will be on hand to talk about the film – Danny Diamond of the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, and Conor Caldwell, Belfast, who has completed a doctorate on the music of John Doherty. Saturday’s events begin with fiddle classes, which will run from 10.00 am until 1.00 pm in Oideas Gael. Intending students should contact Cairdeas by e-mail at [email protected] or phone Rab on 0863409019. It will be a help to the organisers to have an idea of numbers and playing experience.The concert at the Folk Village begins at 8pm. Those on the bill include Vincent and Jimmy Campbell from Glenties, the award-winning Danny Meehan from Mountcharles, and Raphoe native Martin McGinley.There’s a charge of just €20 for all three events. For the concert only it’s €10.The first World Fiddle Day was last year. It’s being held annually on the Saturday closest to 19th May, the date of the death of the renowned Cremonese violin maker Antonio Stradivari.See www.worldfiddleday.com or www.facebook.com/pages/World-Fiddle-Day To get a preview of Pete Seeger trying to follow the remarkable playing of John Doherty in the caravan in Carrick in 1964 (during a downpour), check out the clip on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlT3CmtKTqoMUSIC LEGENDS DOHERTY AND SEEGER FOR WORLD FIDDLE DAY IN DONEGAL was last modified: May 13th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalfiddleJohn DohertyPete Seeger