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‘Ottley Hall report improper’

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Nicole Sylvester is not pleased with recent reports on the Ottley Hall Inquiry. She contends that with an appeal against the appointment of the Commissioner “still pending before the Privy Council,” recent press briefings and public pronouncements by Legal Counsel for the Commissioner are inappropriate.

Sylvester is one of the lawyers representing persons who testified in the Ottley Hall Inquiry. {{more}} She claims, “It is immodest, indecent and improper to discuss or put in the public domain, matters which are under consideration of the court or are pending before the court.”

She outlined: “These recent harangues are further buttressed by a serialising of the recordings of the proceedings before the Inquiry on local television.”

Sylvester is also arguing that the Commissioner was not properly appointed. She pointed out that “among the several reliefs sought is a Declaration that the instrument appointing the Sole Commissioner is invalid, illegal, null, void and ineffective.”

She adds: “For the Sole Commissioner to purport to submit an interim report which the government proceeds to use on its political platform and in its political discourses, only highlights the real underlying purpose of this exercise.”

Sylvester further outlined: “This is a matter which you the public can judge for yourself,” and contended that “we must all as citizens uphold the rule of law in our blessed land.”

The Ottley Hall Inquiry arose from a scenario in the early 1990’s when $200 million was spent on a venture about one mile north west of Capital City Kingstown.

Liquidators subsequently put the worth of the project at US$5M.

Secretary to the Commission, Roslyn Harry responding to Sylvester’s comment stated in a release dated November 29, “Unless and until a Court of law pronounces and declares the Appointment of Justice Ephraim Georges as Sole Commissioner of the Ottley Hall Commission of Inquiry to be illegal, null and void, the set appointment is and remains valid.”

Harry admitted that the appeal was pending before her majesty’s Privy Council in London.

She cited that it was for that reason that the Commission suspended public hearings May 2004.

She referred to the Commissioner’s decision to send a report to His Excellency the Governor general Sir Frederick Ballantyne and Colin Williams Director of Public Prosecutions.

Harry indicated that the Commissioner’s action was: “clearly within the parameters of the law and the terms of reference of the Commission itself.” Harry added that it was a separate report to His Excellency and the DPP “as independently required by the terms of the Commission.”

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