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Nandlall raps AG on competing legislation

first_img– after SARA complainsFormer Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General Anil Nandlall has sought to highlight one of the consequences of not holding adequate consultations with the necessary stakeholders when crafting legislation.Nandlall picked up on comments made by the Deputy Director of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA), Aubrey Heath-Retemyer, in an article published on Sunday in a national newspaper. Heath-Retemyer was lamenting the apparent resistance by judicial officers to access information from commercials banks,Former Attorney General Anil Nandlallsomething which is key to the work of the anti-corruption agency. However, Nandlall explained that while he may not know the facts of the individual cases, one of the reasons why courts were reluctant to act in supplying the information requested was as a result of several pieces of legislation that are clashing.“Some [legislation] require the bank to maintain clients’ confidentiality and, therefore, prohibit them from disclosing the information requested, while some require the bank to make the disclosures,” he pointed out.The former Legal Affairs Minister noted that the Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation caters for the latter situation, and clashes with laws that support the former. This, he noted, was brought to the attention of his successor.“When [AML/CFT Bill] was being debated in the National Assembly, I drew theseSARA Deputy Director Aubrey Heath-Retemyerinconsistencies to the Attorney General’s [Basil Williams’] attention … Of course, our Attorney General is incapable of taking advice. All he does is take the draft Bills which come from FATF (Financial Action Task Force) and CFATF (Caribbean Financial Action Task Force) and table them in the National Assembly and then clumsily boast to those whom he continues to mislead that he satisfies another international requirement,” the former Legal Affairs Minister posited.According to Nandlall, he had outlined that such inconsistencies were supposed to be reconciled after consulting with the banks and that appropriate formulation which balances the competing interests, should have been arrived at when the Bill was being debated in the House, and sent to FATF and CFATF for their approval.“That’s how it was done by many countries that faced the same problems … [But] these statutory implosions will continue unabated until there is an initiated input at the AG Chambers. Rest assured that will not happen while the current configuration continues,” Nandlall asserted.On the other hand, the former Legal Affairs Minister went on to highlight too that both Heath-Retemyer and the SARA Director, Dr Clive Thomas, were unlawfully occupying their offices.He pointed out that the SARA Act provides very clearly that the Director andAttorney General Basil WilliamsDeputy Director of the Agency shall be appointed through a parliamentary process. “Since that Act came into force, that process was never activated. A transition provision in the Act allowed the Director who operated in the Agency before the Act came into force, to continue to act in that office for a limited period. However, that period has long expired. Neither was appointed by the National Assembly process mandated by the Act. Therefore, Mr Retemyer and Dr Thomas are unlawfully holding offices and are receiving public monies as remuneration,” Nandlall stated while asking why “crime and unlawful conduct” were not being investigated by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).last_img read more

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