‘Jonas has to wait for Senior Counsel status’ – AG

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Attorney General Basil Williams has made it clear that Attorney-at-law Timothy Jonas will have “to wait” for his Senior Counsel (SC) status and from all indications he does not fit the criteria or have the years of service to be conferred with silk.

“…We’re dealing with people 30 going up…Mr Jonas cannot be in that group; he just has to wait,” the Attorney General told reporters at the High Court Wednesday.

It was the Stabroek News that first reported that Jonas was refused SC status due to his involvement and formation of A New and United Guyana (ANUG) – a new political party that will be contesting the next general and regional elections.

Since then, claims of political victimization surfaced but the Attorney General said he “doubts” Jonas’ involvement with ANUG had anything to do with President David Granger refusing him SC status.

He said it could have been a “coincidence.”

When asked specifically if the lawyer’s name was pulled from the nomination list because of ANUG, the AG said, “I can’t answer that. I don’t know what’s in the mind of people. What I know is that he was not identified in the process that was used.”

The Chancellor of the Judiciary usually makes the nominations of who should be conferred with SC status but the decision lies solely with the Head of State.

According to the AG, the President also has the discretion to choose someone who was not nominated.

“The President is a disciplined person you know and he has criteria for these things. You must be fit and proper but one of the criteria we’re dealing with is the length of service,” the Attorney General said.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) – a partner in the coalition government – has since distanced itself from the decision to refuse Jonas Senior Counsel status.

The Party’s Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan told a news conference Wednesday that the situation is a rather unfortunate one.

“As much as I can say, if indeed it is what he is saying, it is rather unfortunate that happened and…certain things could be placed to have that corrected.

“The impression I got is that indeed the Senior members of the judiciary did nominate him and indeed apparently, it was communicated he would get it but I don’t know…it is an important aspect in honouring the efforts of lawyers in the profession,” Mr Ramjattan, who is also a lawyer by profession, told the media.

Ramjattan, who is also Guyana’s Minister of National Security, noted, however, that he needs the other side of the story and made it clear that the power lies solely with the President to decide who is conferred with Senior Counsel status.

It was the Stabroek News that first reported that Jonas was refused SC status following the formation of A New and United Guyana (ANUG) – a new political party that will be contesting the next general and regional elections.

AFC member, Dominic Gaskin made it clear that the AFC will not want to be associated with any form of victimization.

“The AFC will not want to be associated with any sort of victimization of anyone because of their political beliefs. That is something we hold very dear to us and it is important and we would, of course, like to get the whole story behind it and it’s certainly not the type of action we support,” Gaskin, who is also the country’s Minister of Business, told the news conference.

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