Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2015 Contents KALIFA CLYNE
Former attorney generals (AG)
John Jeremie and Ramesh Lawrence
Maharaj yesterday joined voices in
a call on the Police Service to inves-
tigate the legal fees incurred by the
Office of the Attorney General dur-
ing the four-year tenure of attorney
The two former AGs, with two dif-
ferent political backgrounds, also
called on the police to ensure there
was a forensic audit into the financial
documents of the Office of the Attor-
They made the call during a press
conference yesterday at the Radisson
Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-
It was called to explain the role of
the Attorney General in T&T.
They said investigations also need-
ed to be conducted regarding what
could potentially be "close to a billion
dollars" in legal fees incurred by state
boards and state agencies as Ram-
logan had given a directive that he
would handpick lawyers to represent
state boards in legal matters.
Maharaj, who was AG between
1995 to 2001, said the financial state-
ments at the Office of the Attorney
General between 2010 and 2015 when
Ramlogan was AG, showed a prima
facie case for financial impropriety.
He said the information provided
in the financial statements laid in
Parliament last Friday was an indi-
cation of "scandal in the court" where
junior lawyers were being paid exor-
bitant fees and the idea of reasonable
cost was being flouted.
He said the Office of the Attorney
General had been brought into dis-
He described the expenditure for
legal fees under Ramlogan as wrong
and reckless and asked "why the
Prime Minister aided and abetted
"In some cases, lawyers who had
little or no experience after law school
were paid the fees of senior lawyers,"
He said while he had retained
lawyers as a former AG, he had dif-
ficulty believing the sums spent
between 2010 and 2015, noting that
he had handled several high profile
"As far as I can recall my allocation
for legal fees was about $25 million."
He said the fees needed to be
looked at as the Legal Profession Act
required lawyers to use reasonable
Maharaj said a schedule of rea-
sonable costs was published by the
Law Association and could be used
for a comparison.
Jeremie said the Attorney General
was the only official allowed by the
constitution to spend money without
oversight and added that the trust
given to the AG by legislative arrange-
ments should not be abused.
"Over the past few weeks, I have
been horrified to see details of the
spending patterns of the Attorney
General," Jeremie said.
He described the spending under
Ramlogan as voluminous and con-
He said details of expenditure sug-
gested that taxpayers were not getting
value for money.
Jeremie said when he was Attorney
General, the legal fees of the office
of the AG allocated for 2010 was $36
million, a figure which jumped by
more than 100 per cent during Ram-
logan s first year in office.
"I take no pleasure pointing fingers
at a past student of mine," Jeremie
said, referring to Ramlogan.
He said it was his duty to raise
those issues in the public interest.
Authority and the rank of ASP in the authority as its
The combined average, the association maintains,
was a 24 per cent wage increase and is asking for 80
per cent of that.
The removal of the rank of ASP in the Airports
Authority is effectively reducing the combined average
increase to 16.4 per cent with an offering of 60 per
cent from the State, which equates to a ten per cent
JENSEN LA VENDE
The decision by the executive of the
Police Service to remove from inspec-
tors in charge of police stations the
power to conduct roadblocks and place
it in the hands of the divisional heads
following Monday s total policing grid-
lock was hasty and ought to be revis-
The suggestion comes from head of
the Police Service Social and Welfare
Association Insp Anand Ramesar, whose
officers have been blamed for the grid-
lock for most of Monday morning.
Speaking with the media after a
meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer
Stephanie Lewis yesterday over their
ongoing wage negotiations, Ramesar
said he met with the police executive
but the decision was never discussed.
At a press conference on Monday
acting Police Commissioner Ann Marie
Alleyne-Daly ordered that only divisional
heads could order roadblocks and apol-
ogised to the nation on behalf on the
She said the executive was clueless
on the roadblocks and had it known
before hand it would have moved to
She added that an investigation,
which would take two weeks to be com-
pleted, was ongoing to determine if any
officer breached the police regulations
"At the end of the day divisional heads
are not the real workers in any of the
divisions. The workers are the inspector.
They are the ones who first receive
intelligence and carry out operations.
"For us, I think the decision was a
bit hasty and I think it needs to be revis-
ited," Ramesar said, adding that Alleyne-
Daly needed to look at the Police Service
Regulations Act and the acting Com-
missioner Stephen Williams strategic
crime plan and police culture before
making the order.
decision which should not have been
made at this particular juncture. The
public is listening and to know that
police cannot carry out roadblocks today
and not in the near future should have
been dealt with internally and in the
ear of TTPS only not a public statement"
He said coming out of yesterday s
meeting the association was no where
closer to settling its negotiations, given
that the CPO had not budged from her
position of a ten per cent increase.
The association is requesting a 19 per
cent wage increase using seven other
institutions, including the Airports
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The number drawn yesterday on CNC3 was
099892. If the number on the bunny at the
back of your yesterday s T&T Guardian was
099892 you have won $5,500 cash.
You have until 3 pm today to come to the
T&T Guardian office, 22-24 St Vincent Street,
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the winning number and photo identification.
They want probe into Ramlogan's tenure
Ex-AGs: Scandal over legal fees
Former Attorney Generals, John Jeremie, left, and Ramesh Lawerence
Maharaj during yesterday's press conference at the Radisson Hotel, Port-
of-Spain. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Former Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan said yesterday he welcomed a po-
lice probe into the financial statements.
He added: "Unlike when the PNM was
in the power when they refused to dis-
close in the Parliament on money spent
on legal fees, I was happy to disclose all
legal fees spent during my tenure and
not rely on backward precedent.
"I have no doubt that the expenditure
would withstand scrutiny. I will not pay
attention to what is clearly a politically
motivated call by people who share posi-
tions that are in opposition."
Asked whether the budget for legal
fees had indeed skyrocketed under his
tenure, Ramlogan said it was a matter of
public record that Cabinet authorised
several probes into UTT, Petrotrin, Eteck
and Udecott and that was an unbud-
geted expenditure in the ministry.
"It has resulted in the unprecedented
filing of four civil cases which could re-
cover close to $2 billion for the country."
He said the State had won over 95 per
cent of the matters in which the lawyers
He criticised both Jeremie and Ma-
haraj, saying Jeremie should tell the
country the cost of legal fees spent
when former chief justice Sat Sharma
was being hounded out of office.
"I am rather surprised he would
emerge from political hibernation," he
He said similar allegations had been
made by John Jeremie against Maharaj
when he was in office regarding hiring
"I am not concerned about any investi-
gation into anything. I, as always, wel-
comes an investigation. The allegations
of financial impropriety is baseless and
ridiculous and patently false."
Ramlogan also denied paying
$408,000 for a pre-action protocol letter
or response to one.
"I have never received such an invoice
from an attorney or authorised payment
for any such invoice. It is a malicious
falsehood. It is totally false.
"The way payments are made in the
ministry is that the file comes from the
solicitor general. It simply did not happen.
It is a fabrication and I challenge anyone
to produce such an invoice," he added.
Ramesar to acting CoP:
Decision on roadblocks too hasty
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