Opposition calls for resignation of AG

CASTRIES, St. Lucia: The main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has called for the immediate resignation of Attorney General Dr. Nicholas Frederick after he criticized a ruling of a High Court judge in the controversial Tuxedo Villas affair.

“Having heard the statement of the Attorney-General on the Tuxedo Villas Affair, I have concluded that no Attorney General in our system of government who is acting impartially and unshackled by partisan loyalties could make a statement of the kind made by Dr. Nicholas Frederick,” said SLP leader Dr. Kenny Anthony.

“This is too much dishonour. Dr. Frederick must resign. He must not wait for the Prime Minister to fire him. He must go now,” Dr. Anthony said.

Anthony, a former prime minister, described as “simply astonishing” the criticism made by Frederick of the ruling by Justice Brian Cottle that Health Minister Dr. Keith Mondesir had used concessions granted to him two years ago under the Tourism Incentive Act to furnish a private property.

Lawyers for Anthony had argued that the Cabinet decision was intended to prevent the Customs from taking legal action against Mondesir.

However, Fredrick said Justice Cottle’s judgment was “unsound both in fact and law” and that it should be appealed.

Fredrick said the judge had excluded “my sworn affidavit evidence” during a hearing in which he said Mondesir was not present at the Cabinet meeting when the decision was taken to grant the concession.

The Attorney General said the judge had also ignored the oral testimony of the Cabinet clerk and that he had arrived at “the patent untruth that Mondesir at the time of the deliberations was present at the Cabinet meeting. And he had used this untruth to conclude that Dr. Mondesir influenced the Cabinet decision”.

However, Anthony said the attorney for the state, Kenneth Monplaisir, had said in “open court…that the attorney general would not be relying on his own evidence”.

Anthony said the remark caused his attorney, Anthony Astahpan, a Queen Counsel, “to say that this was a serious affront to the court”.

“And, true to Mr. Monplaisir’s statements to the judge, the attorney general never presented himself in court, a fact which the judge emphasized. Further, it is settled law that if a maker of an affidavit fails to attend for cross-examination, as the AG did, a party cannot use that affidavit unless the leave of the court is sought. His lawyers never sought leave to do so, perhaps for good reason,” Anthony said.

Anthony said Frederick is publicly contradicting the evidence of his own Cabinet colleagues by contending that the health minister was present at Cabinet “in the morning, but not in the afternoon (when) his own colleagues testified that he was not present at all”.

“Even more alarming is the failure of the attorney general to understand the heart of the case. The fact is that the court found that the Bonne Terre property was never part of Tuxedo Villas. If anything, the so called bills merely confirmed that the Bonne Terre property was not used as commercial property.

“It is unheard of that an attorney general should publicly attack the integrity of a judge of a court…Dr. Nicholas Frederick has not only breached well established conventions but is in serious contempt of court,” Anthony said. 

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