Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has warned his Cabinet about the question of trust following leaked information about the move by his administration to appoint two lawyers in private practice as Queen’s Counsel.
A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the Grenadian leader made the comment at Monday’s weekly Cabinet meeting held at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen.
He said that the Prime Minister did not get involved in name calling but fingers are pointing in the direction of a particular individual who was overlooked for consideration.
The source who spoke on condition that he was not named said the Grenadian leader looked visibly upset in the meeting about the “Cabinet leak” that was published in last week’s issue of this newspaper.
THE NEW TODAY broke the news that PM Mitchell had made a submission to Cabinet for the two lawyers who run private practice in the city to be elevated to QC status outside of the normal procedure that involves approval from the “Silk Committee” set up by the OECS Court system.
A party insider told this newspaper that a number of female attorneys-at-law who are known to be strong supporters of the ruling party are concerned over the manner in which the purported appointments are being made.
However, he said that the lawyers are “too timid” to voice public concerns out of fear that some of them depend heavily on the political directorate for lucrative legal work.
According to the source, the lawyers are adamant that one of the attorneys approved by Cabinet for QC status “is not silk material” and are also hopeful that the other nominee will decline out of the knowledge that the correct protocol was not being followed by government.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Attorney-General, Cajeton Hood had sought to impress upon the Cabinet of Ministers the need to be cautious with the manner in which government was seeking to get QC status for the two attorneys-at-law.
Solicitor-General, Dwight Horsford was also asked for a legal opinion on the issue and submitted a document much in agreement with AG Hood.
The two State lawyers took the view that government can make recommendation for an attorney within the public service like the Attorney-General, Solicitor-General or Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be designated QC status but not those in private practice.
According to a leading member of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), there is an established protocol agreed among the regional Heads of Government for lawyers in private practice to be selected for QC status involving the use of a Silk Committee that comprises a legal luminary and a top religious figure.
Cabinet has mandated Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod to seek a meeting with the local bar to inform them of government’s decision to award QC status to the two lawyers in private practice.
Meanwhile, a high-level government source told THE NEW TODAY that AG Hood could spend his last official day in office around the middle of October.
He said that PM Mitchell has given instructions for the government’s principal legal advisor to proceed on holiday in order to utilise all his accumulated leave based on his signed contract with government.
Speculation is rife that the move is strategic in order to keep AG Hood out of the legal advice process that is normally used by a Prime Minister for the dissolution of Parliament and informing the Governor-General of the date set for the holding of a general election.
The expected departure of Hood has resulted in political analysts predicting that a poll could be held sometime between the end of October towards the middle of November.
Mitchell’s NNP currently controls all 15 seats in Parliament and is confident of a repeat performance to continue its stranglehold on the nation’s parliament.
Its main challenge will come from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which last month completed its full slate of 15 Caretaker candidates for the upcoming election.