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Imbert: What I really said
I refer to an article by Richard Lord regarding the public meeting held at Five Rivers Junction on September 26. There is a misunderstanding of what I said at that meeting and I would be grateful for the opportunity to clarify this issue. For the record, I did not say that the Attorney General was not speaking the truth when he said that he did not have ministerial responsibility for criminal legislation nor did I say that since July last year the Prime Minister reassigned criminal legislation to the AG.
Instead, what I said was whereas Mr Volney was given responsibility for criminal legislation in June 2010, this responsibility was removed from Mr Volney’s portfolio in July 2011. I went on to say that by virtue of Section 76(2) of the Constitution, when this occurred, the responsibility of this area of government business reverted to the Attorney General.
For clarity, Section 76(2) of the Constitution states that the Attorney General is responsible for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago, subject to the assignment by the Prime Minister of any government business to any other minister. This responsibility for legal affairs is absolute, unless the Prime Minister determines otherwise, by way of advice to the President.
On June 16, 2010, as stated on page 796-11 of Vol. 49 No. 74A of the Gazette, the responsibility for criminal legislation was assigned to the Minister of Justice, which means that in 2010, that particular aspect of legal affairs was Mr Volney’s responsibility.
However, one year later, on July 13, 2011, as stated on page 685 of Vol. 50, No. 89 of the Gazette, this specific responsibility was removed from the portfolio of the Minister of Justice, and therefore, by virtue of the Constitution, the responsibility for criminal legislation reverted to the Attorney General at that time.
Colm Imbert, MP
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