Attorneys General; past and present, clash over appointment of Deputy Registrar
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams is questioning the appointment of Zanna Frank as the Deputy Registrar of Deeds, by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
During a press conference on Monday Williams reasoned that although the registry is part of the executive, there is an anomaly where the JSC is vested with the power to appoint a registrar and deputy registrar of the Deeds Registry.
This, he said is creating several problems and government will move swiftly to rectify it because the registry is an autonomous body. “When I became minister and attorney general, the authority agreed that we would look at the criteria for employment and we agreed that emphasis must be placed on persons who have served and have experience in these registries,” Williams said.
The AG noted that the staff at the registry objected to the appointment of Frank and visited him in this regard, he also claimed that he was not informed of Frank’s appointment.
He maintained that Frank does not meet the criteria for this position pointing out that she has been in practice for under two years. He has written to the Chancellor, who heads the JSC and is yet to receive a respond. The AG said “by appointing Miss Zanna Frank as Deputy Registrar with only year experience, it meant that the JSC was acting excessively and without of their jurisdiction, they have no jurisdiction to make their own rules and qualifications and then not abide by them so Miss Frank is obviously being used as a pawn in an attempt to disrupt the smooth functioning and effectiveness of the Deeds and Commercial Registry authority.”
But according to Opposition MP and Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall in a statement to the press Miss Frank may be overqualified for that position.
In any event, Nandlall is contending that it is the JSC and no one else, who is empowered to assess her suitability for the job. He is also questioning whose “pawn” and “sacrificial lamb” is Ms. Frank.
“In the end, this outburst by the Attorney-General amounts to a most uncouth, unethical and unprofessional onslaught upon a young female Attorney-at-Law by a person considered to be the head of the Bar. The learned Attorney-General demonstrates no regard for the sub judice principle, publicly, expressing his views on the merits of a case that is pending in the Court. I note the silence of the Guyana Bar Association and the Guyana Women’s Lawyers Association on these gross transgressions,” Nandlall stated.
The opposition MP is also refuting claims by the AG that he inherited a “mess” at the Deeds Registry, he noted that “suffice it so say, that he inherited a modern, well-equipped and properly staffed Commercial and Deeds Registries consolidated into a singular unit, the Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority, a statutory body corporate managed by a competent Board of Directors nominated by important stakeholders, along with an additional and renovated building which formerly housed the New Building Society Limited on Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown.”