With general elections just around the corner, Grenada is set to have a new Acting Attorney-General.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that long-standing stalwart in the ruling New National Party (NNP), Dr. Lawrence Joseph is moving into the seat in a matter of days.
A reliable source said that the Keith Mitchell-led government has written to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) to make the appointment with immediate effect.
She spoke of the current holder of the post, attorney-at-law, Cajeton Hood being instructed by Prime Minister Mitchell to take all holiday leave due to him in keeping with his 4-year contract.
THE NEW TODAY had reported two weeks ago that AG Hood was expected to proceed on leave from the middle of October for approximately two months.
However, the source said that fresh instructions came from the Botanical Gardens office of the Prime Minister for Hood’s leave to start at the end of September instead.
The AG was seen last week removing a number of personal items in boxes from his office on H.A Blaize Street in St. George’s.
Speculation is rife that the Joseph appointment as Acting Attorney-General is a strategic move by PM Mitchell to exclude Hood from the decision-making process leading up to the announcement as to the date of the upcoming general elections.
The appointment has also raised eyebrows in some legal circles given Joseph’s role as Deputy to the Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade.
The Mitchell/Hood relationship has reportedly become very strained and sour in recent years with Cabinet ignoring a number of the legal advice given by the Office of the Attorney-General.
The latest impasse between the two surrounded the move by Prime Minister Mitchell to give Queen’s Counsel status to two lawyers in private practice – Derek Sylvester and Ruggles Ferguson – outside of the system put in place by the Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court.
Hood is said to have adopted the position taken by Solicitor-General, Dwight Horsford that caution should be exercised in the matter since the government is traditionally limited to only recommending State attorneys like the Attorney-General, Solicitor General and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to QC standing.
Cabinet has directed Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod to meet with the Grenada Bar Association out of courtesy to inform them of the decision that was taken on the issue.
Attorney Ferguson was reported in last week’s issue of THE NEW TODAY as saying that he would not become a government-appointed QC if it did not come through the office of the Chief Justice.
Sylvester declined to comment on the issue when confronted by a reporter from this newspaper.