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Seetahal: AG should not be politician
Counsel Dana Seetahal does not believe the Attorney General should be a member of Cabinet or even a politician for that matter. She believes the office of the AG should be separate and apart from politics. Rather, he or she should be a professional lawyer, she said. She said in T&T, as in some Caribbean jurisdictions, up until 1976, the Attorney General used to be in charge of both criminal and civil matters. However, that changed with the Republican Constitution, when the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was created to take full control of criminal matters, with the AG retaining control over civil proceedings and the administration of legal affairs. She said in other countries, like Grenada, the Attorney General may hold just another public office, while in Barbados the AG may still give direction to the DPP.
In England, however, the Attorney General was not a member of Cabinet, she added. “He is the Government’s legal adviser and supervises the crown prosecution department,” Seetahal said. On the separation of powers, she said it was difficult to have true separation of the the Judiciary, Parliament and the executive, as the executive was chosen from the Parliament. The AG is a member of the Cabinet in T&T as demanded by the Constitution, she said. She added: “So this begs the question, should the AG be a politician at all? “In the dispensation of legal advice as the legal adviser and member of Cabinet there might be a conflict regarding his role”.
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