JENSEN LA VENDE
President of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes said the association did not slight the Attorney General but was swamped with other legal opinions and never got around to responding to him.
In laying the Anti-Gang Bill 2018 for the third time on Friday, Attorney Gerneral Faris Al-Rawi said he had sought advice from LATT, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, police and the Judiciary. He said only the police responded. In her response, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she found the lack of responses “tragic.”
Mendes, who was at the women’s rally at the Queen’s Park Savannah, explained that the association was written to twice. On the first occasion, he said, the bill was brought to Parliament and failed before the association could respond. And while Mendes could not confirm why no response was given on the second occasion, he insisted that LATT was not slighting the office of the Attorney General.
He added that, as a result of the amount of work that the association was currently reviewing for the Attorney General, they were now in the process of hiring an attorney specifically to review legislation. He said the association was reviewing the Evidence Act, Anti-Terrorism Bill, Zone of Operations and Property Bill as well as other legislation. Mendes said volume of work would be shifted from volunteers to a paid capable attorney as LATT did not have a full-time department for such purposes. He added the remuneration package was attractive enough to compete with the open market.
“The AG has a hectic legislative agenda and we are unable to keep up. We regard our responsibility to comment on the legislation and we are now trying to build capacity to do so in a timely fashion.”