Posted on

Bar Association wide awake, fully functioning – president

Bar Association wide awake, fully functioning – president


The St Vincent and the Grenadines Bar Association is wide awake and fully functioning.{{more}}

So said president Linton Lewis to the media on Wednesday, as he addressed statements made by Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams, who questioned the Association’s motive for addressing the arrest of lawyer Vynnette Frederick two weeks ago.

Williams, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on July 17, stated that the Association has suddenly broken its silence, following the arrest of lawyer and New Democratic Party senator Vynnette Frederick one week earlier.

Williams questioned the reasons the Association had stayed silent on other national issues, and dismissed its statement condemning Frederick’s arrest as political.

Lewis, who said that the organization has been far from silent over the years, considered his comments inappropriate and false.

“In truth and in fact, it is not fair to say that the Bar is suddenly awakened, when I, as president, have been dealing with things,” Lewis said.

“All of a sudden you would hear these statements that the Bar Association has been silent. It is very important to note that the primary aim of the Bar Association is to ensure that its members conduct themselves in a certain way, and to be able to ensure that we have a justice system in this country that can serve all Vincentians.”

Giving examples, Lewis outlined a number of accomplishments and achievements by the Association.

“Ever so often, I remember very well that I was, every single Thursday morning, on the programme on WE FM radio station and on a number of these programmes, I was introduced as the president of the Bar and even in the newspapers.

“As president of the Bar, I have had to deal with a lot of complaints from persons about the conduct of lawyers. Some the lawyers I’ve contacted, and we have had discussions on those issues….”

He also mentioned the Association’s Agnes Cato Memorial Lecture, which featured the late Simeon McIntosh, as well as the dinners, which honoured attorney Bayliss Frederick and Justice Monica Joseph, and its public discussions on laws issues that affect the nation.

The president said that it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Association would make a statement on Frederick’s arrest, since it is duty bound to speak out on behalf of its members.

“The thing is that I don’t think it’s proper and correct for persons to be indicating that the Bar has suddenly awakened, because the Bar is not a pressure group, it is not a human rights group per se. It is not an organization that is designed to deal with social and political issues, although it can give commentaries and has given commentaries via the president on a number of issues.” (JJ)