Giving Back

DaleMarshall_LeighTrotman
Submitted by Paula Sealy

Attorney General Dale Marshall has defended Government’s hiring of private lawyers to provide legal representation for the State, saying that the Solicitor General’s Department, is understaffed.

Responding to an editorial recently published in a local newspaper about the Mia Mottley Government engaging with private legal services, when the administration has the Solicitor General’s Chambers at its disposal, Marshall told the House that with just 20 lawyers currently working in that office, often in multiple roles, the Government had no choice but to employ private lawyers for tasks on behalf of the administration.

“The lawyers at the SG’s chambers are operating in circumstances where today you may be at work as a lawyer and tomorrow they call and tell you that you are the magistrate at District “A”, and you are there for six months and the work comes to an end. They then call you and tell you that you are back in chambers for a month, but after that you are going to the Supervisor of Bankruptcy.

AG defends giving Govt’s work to private-practice lawyers

Are any of these private lawyers going to work on legislation to do with transparency or integrity?

Following his reports over the years you could only wonder what the Auditor General will say about this news.

A. The 2018 report:

For years I have been complaining of a shortage of staff and there is little evidence that this matter is being addressed. This shortage will continue to impact both the timely output and, ultimately, the quality of work since even if new officers are provided, they will have to be trained before they can make a meaningful contribution to the Office. The Office is quite willing to examine alternative ways of conducting its work and this could include the hiring of individuals on contract to assist with any auditing backlogs. In this regard, greater autonomy in the use of resources would assist with this process.

B. The 2019 report:

Selection of Attorneys
3.6 The review revealed that some attorneys/firms engaged by the SOEs were selected by Cabinet, others by the Board of Management and/or the Minister responsible for the SOE. However, the Auditors were not provided with a clear basis for the selection of the legal counsel by these
agencies/authorities. The engagement of the attorneys/firms was stated to be due to the absence of legal counsel on staff at some agencies; and the complexity and volume of legal matters to be dealt with, for others.

Basis for Fees
3.7 The total amount of fees reported as paid by the entities who submitted information was over $7 million, with the amount of fees paid to individual attorneys/firms, ranging from $500 to $4 million for work done over the
review period. Generally, there was an absence of evidence to indicate that the basis or rates/fees paid to the attorneys were agreed on prior to services being provided.

3.8 Four (4) of the eight (8) agencies examined indicated that fees charged were generally based on the Legal Profession (Attorneys-at-Law) (Remuneration for Non-Contentious Business) Rules, 1997 (hereinafter referred to as the Legal Profession Rules or the Rules). However, there are legal services which are not explicitly captured in the stated Rules resulting in the basis of the rates/fees not being established in these instances.

3.9 Another two (2) agencies indicated that the General Counsel on staff was responsible for verifying the fees. Whereas, the other two (2) agencies provided no information on the basis for the fees charged by the attorneys.

(C) The 2020 report:

In the past I have expressed concern over the significant number of vacancies which continue to exist in the Office, and how it negatively impacted on the Office fulfilling its mandate. This continues to be the case but has been mitigated somewhat by the manner in which the Office conducts its work, for example the reduction in the amount of sampling of transactions with instead a greater focus on those areas which are considered as more risk prone.

46 comments

  • Just “ a little something “ for the “ boys and girls”.
    The gravy train just keeps rolling along……….,,,,
    Feeding at the trough is a well known pastime…………..,

    Like

  • An important governance issue civil society, including the political Opposition should raising a dissenting voice. Instead we have the 9 day braying when the AG’s report is released and then the retreat to the sound of silence.

    Like

  • Is the political opposition made up of many lawyers?

    Is Verla not a lawyer?

    My concern is the basis for the fees not being fully established. This is what enables the abuse.

    If I were a Kadooment band leader, I would title my next band “Corruption” and each section would depict a section of the Auditor General’s report.

    The final section would be dedicated to the effects of corruption.

    A special section would be entitled, DE RED BAG or RED BAG POLITICS.

    I would hire Lil Rick and co. to pen songs specially for the band.

    That would be the ideal way to get the regular citizen informed and involved.

    Like

  • David
    This is government’s predetermined direction.

    No less neo-liberal. No less protective of the elites. Indeed, no less the defenders of the power of the legal mafia operating in Barbados than the DLP was.

    There can be no better example of the criminal nature of this regime than this act of further opening the treasury to people like a Cheltenham to irrationally charge government tens of millions in one case alone.

    It represents the ultimate thief which has always been burgeoning in Barbados – massive transfers of public assets into private hands.

    Tell Mia Motley that her soiled panties are showing.

    While her legal friends get to raid the treasury, ordinary people are to find some rasssssoul misguided hope in the political fiction of republicanism.

    Until you realize that democracy is to be about economy, centrally. So the elite lawyers are to have their democracy while the rest of us must settle for their dictatorship.

    Like

  • The problem is that the citizens have been led to believe that such acts are par for the course. They have lived to see each party accuse the other of “corruption”and then “ turn around” and do the same.
    This acceptance is very pronounced in public discourse , including that on BU, where we go around showing that every time the government in power does something wrong be it B or D their supporters then bring a similar occurrence to prove the others did the same thing too.
    That’s why we are stuck in the mud of corruption.

    Like

  • @David
    An important governance issue civil society, including the political Opposition should raising a dissenting voice.
    +++++++++++++++
    You are always going off about “political Opposition”, so where is it? Do they have a voice in Parliament? Apart from Caswell have you head anything worth mentioning? Has the Bishop named any candidate to contest a future Election?
    If you are speaking of the DLP, it is as effective as a eunuch in a harem, it is mired in internal disputes and the media doesn’t take Verla seriously, even the former DLP representative of the constituency she is running in hasn’t endorsed her.

    Talk about erecting straw horses to knock them down………

    Just gimme de vote and watch muh

    Like

  • erecting straw men…..

    Like

  • Bajans could and should write some calypso lyrics to express their issues with the political and legal judicial establishments

    Push Kushu Gi Mi

    Like

  • @William

    Why do you generalize so much? There is no medium that has posted voluminously about governance issues in the last ten years than in this space.

    @Sargeant

    Political opposition should not be defined by your narrow version. One does not have to be elected to be a strident political opposition/voice.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    If we both had the time a long list of recipients belonging to the legal fraternity could be made and successful prosecuted. The problem is systemic, William alluded to it – there is a comfortableness to how civil society accept mediocre service from this lot. What is frightening is the headlock they have on how business in every sphere is done on the island.

    Like

  • The people of Barbados elected the BLP 30 to ZERO.

    Mia Amor Mottley will be the mother of the Republic of BARBADOS and Prime Minister for the foreseeable future.

    The Government will ” effectively ” distribute the aid money coming from International agencies.

    Like

  • What is it they say – madness is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?

    De lotta long talk does nor reach the people. We should try word pictures which require their thought and participation.

    All words should be accompanied by a ragga soca riddem.

    You must reach the people where they are.

    A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.

    Get them marching on the next Kadooment Day!

    Like

  • @ David
    Yes BU has been voluminous in bringing the issue to the floor. I merely meant that the ensuing debate/discussion that follows is along petty party lines.
    You need to read what I write more objectively .
    This is what William Skinner wrote:

    “This acceptance is very pronounced in public discourse , including that on BU, where we go around showing that every time the government in power does something wrong be it B or D their supporters then bring a similar occurrence to prove the others did the same thing too.
    That’s why we are stuck in the mud of corruption.”
    Now where on earth did he write that BU does not address the question of corruption?

    Like

  • David
    Yes! The problems are “systemic”.
    We have been making these arguments for decades.
    You David, must now go a step further and embrace the uncomfortable idea that there is only a single way by which “systemic” problems like these are to be effectively confronted. In the absence of such courage perdition will find us all.
    You should stop buying into initiatives aimed at misguiding the masses, on the one hand, while the treasury is being robbed, on the other.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    You suggest a clarion call for the masses to shed blood in the streets?

    Like

  • The Canadian Armed Forces, which provided airlift for COVID-19 supplies to a temporary Integrated Regional Logistic Hub, is now working to set up a permanent logistics hub and training facility in Barbados, according to the statement.

    ” a permanent logistics hub and training facility in Barbados ”

    The road to the republic being paved.

    Like

  • David

    We made no such call. And were anything but clear.

    However, it can’t be long before the fickle masses generally realize that the idiotic act of voting is the waste of time it has always been.

    Your responsibility is to help guide us to that point, not rest on the failed idea that there will ever be a real democratic government in Barbados.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Clear it up for us, the clarion call should be for the masses to rise up and hurry the collapse of the system of government practiced?

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  • David

    No clarion. No call.

    Like

  • William Skinner September 2, 2021 9:10 AM

    I agree.

    However, you’ve either purposely or inadvertently ignored the fact that some BU contributors also highlight the similarities in ‘wrong doings’ perpetrated by successive BLP and DLP administrations, to indicate there aren’t any significant political, philosophical or ideological differences between both political parties.

    Unfortunately, this behaviour is par for the course, because there will always be loyal, ‘die hard’ party supporters.

    Like

  • @ Sargeant, is Sargeant your real name? Are you from St Phillip by any chance?

    Like

  • @ Artax
    Even those who try to highlight the sameness are accused of being favorable to one or the other. So however one looks at it, it boils down to the same thinking.
    This approach will continue to retard any real in-depth discussion of issues relating to governance.
    We may be experiencing a little lapse of party posturing because COVID has exposed the failures of both parties.
    People like John A, who have been calling for a radical restructuring in response to COVID and the new normal are quickly recognizing that these two parties are bankrupt of any ideas.
    In short neither the Bees nor the Dees have anything to boast about now.
    All that we have now are crocodile tears.

    Like

  • @Dub
    “Bajans could and should write some calypso lyrics to express their issues with the political and legal judicial establishments”
    Can you hear it….dah song real sweet hear, I does sing it nuff, but I never knew what it was about.

    Like

  • This “columnist” always appears incoherent, short on facts and disingenious. Whether this is deliberate, who knows. For instance, the AG Report is clear that the “review period” covered the previous ELEVEN years. Yet one would be led to believe it refers to the year under review. Furthermore, if the “columnist” did a little more fact checking she would have realised that the AG said there is a process (including letters of engagement setting out hourly rate, service to be provided etc) for private lawyers being used. Finally, one of the lawyers is working on drafting legislation…who knows maybe he drafted the last IL bill that died in the Senate and could be working on the promised follow-up. What government, note I didn’t say party because it extends beyond Barbados, does not use external legal services? Feel free to agitate but be factual.

    Like

  • With all being said the needle in this case keeps pointing to accountability and transparency
    The AG speaks only in vague terms to suffice the unsuspecting mind
    The issue surrounding the changes would remain questionable until govt gives a full account of what is to transpire

    Like

  • “Until you realize that democracy is to be about economy, centrally. So the elite lawyers are to have their democracy while the rest of us must settle for their dictatorship.”

    each and every one of them will be exposed individually and collectively for those CRIMES AGAINST BLACK HUMANITY….they believe themselves world famous celebrities, like if anyone except their yardfowl/Slaves are impressed….when most people have no clue who they are and forget them right after seeing or meeting them….and that’s exactly what they need..

    Like

  • Enuff September 2, 2021 12:40 PM #: “For instance, the AG Report is clear that the “review period” covered the previous ELEVEN years. Yet one would be led to believe it refers to the year under review.”

    @ Enuff

    Are you referring to the Auditor General’s Report 2020?

    If so, could you please indicate where in the report it was mentioned “the review period covered the previous 11 years?”

    People often refer to the AudG’s Reports, but, based on some of the comments I’ve read and discussions heard, it’s clear many people do not read them thoroughly……… and usually base their opinions on what they ‘feel,’ ‘hear say,’ incomplete media reports or a misrepresentation or manipulation of the facts by politicians.

    Like

  • Hope all of you checked on family members in the NYC area today, everyone is impacted…they got a disaster.

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  • Re: Following his reports over the years you could only wonder what the Auditor General will say about this news.

    The AuG’s office has been shortstaffed for years. What must he do to get those vacancies filled?

    @Artax
    Page 15 of the 2019 report:
    The Barbados Audit Office requested fifty-four (54) State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) to submit information on the selection process used, and the legal fees paid out to external attorneys over the past eleven (11) years. Thirty-seven (37) responses were received and, based on the value of legal fees paid, eight (8) entities were selected for further review.

    Like

  • William Skinner September 2, 2021 11:47 AM

    RE: “Even those who try to highlight the sameness are accused of being favorable to one or the other. So however one looks at it, it boils down to the same thinking.”

    ‘Fair enough.’ Or, accused of being ‘fair,’ but leaning to one side.

    RE: “In short neither the Bees nor the Dees have anything to boast about now.”

    In MY opinion, Mottley’s tenure has so far been very disappointing, which has been ‘fortunately camouflaged’ by COVID-19.

    First, we have an oversized Cabinet, the justification of which is, ‘many hands make light work,’ and NOT their ABILITY to develop and implement innovative, progressive socioeconomic policy initiatives.

    For example, in the Ministry of Finance we have a Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment; a Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment; Minister in the Ministry of Finance and three (3) consultants.

    We yet to hear what are ‘government’s’ economic policies and budgetary proposals. Additionally, Mia Mottley hasn’t addressed anything relative to finance, perhaps leaving such discussions to Kevin Greenidge, Avinash Persaud and the IMF.

    Rather than holding press conferences on matters relating to COVID-19 and basically repeating what the Minister of Health and health officials said,…………..

    …………….Mottley should have by now, for example, given Barbadians comprehensive information relative to White Oaks and the debt restructuring.
    Has the debt restructuring been completed? If so, why wasn’t a report made available to the public? Is White Oaks still being paid?

    Secondly, former Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, was appointed as a consultant on crime to current CoP Griffith, when there is a functioning ‘Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit,’ (formerly known as the ‘National Task Force on Crime Prevention),’ whose Director is also a former police officer.

    So far, Dottin has not articulated any crime prevention and public policy. Nor, has the AG Office coordinated an implementation of national crime prevention strategies and programs to adequately address the crime situation in Barbados.

    As I mentioned in previous contributions, I shudder to think we either have to retain the BLP or return to the DLP.

    Like

  • What about the transition to renewable energy?

    What about reform to education?

    When will integrity legislation be enacted and operationalized?

    What about the recalibration and reform of the NIS?

    What about arresting perceived corruption?

    What about implementing a performance based system in the public sector?

    What about incentivizing export and food oriented businesses?

    Like

  • Paula Sealy September 2, 2021 3:30 PM

    Thanks.

    I thought Enuff was referring to the 2020 AudG’s report.

    Based on the extract you posted from the 2019 report, he is correct, re: “Yet one would be led to believe it refers to the year under review.”

    However, please note, my comments about people not reading the reports thoroughly etc, were NOT ATTRIBUTED to him.

    Like

  • The letter of transmittal in the same 2019 AuG report is clear in its explanation that the document is a report of the examination of the accounts of the ministries and government departments and of other financial statements and accounts required to be audited by the AuG in respect of THE FINANCIAL YEAR ENDED MARCH 31, 2019.

    Where does the letter of transmittal suggest there was a review of any period other than the financial year identified?

    Like

  • The AuG produces an annual report. Irregularities which relate to the financial year in review are noted. Where no audit has been submitted it is noted. (I will use an example later.) Departments and ministries which have submitted no audited statements over a number of years would be identified along with the period of time without statements.

    Page 82 the 2019 report looks at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology. Here is what the report says:
    The Institute has not submitted financial statements for audit on a consistent basis for the past twenty years. Statements were submitted for the 2014 to 2016 financial years and these were audited. These statements were however not signed by management and the Board and therefore no audit opinion has been given. Statements for the financial years ending 31st March 2017 to 2019 have not been submitted to the Office and hence an audit of these accounts have not been conducted for these years.

    Does the fact that the Institute did not submit audited statements for 2017-2019 make the report a review of two financial years?

    Like

  • @ David
    We need to accept that every day we refuse to seriously address the quagmire of poor governance and accountability, going back up over fifty years, we are just delaying the true growth and development of the country for decades to come.
    Our children and grandchildren run the risk of inheriting a severely broken system of governance.

    Like

  • I understand all about financial statements and auditing procedures and audit reports.

    Your examples are irrelevant, because you’re missing Enuff’s point.

    Like

  • If people praised the Government more…
    it might be motivate them to help the people more…
    this is called the smiling sunshine principle…
    as Chaka Khan would say…
    Tell me something good

    Liked by 1 person

  • So whatever happened to “we gathering” victims…seems so long ago, but most of them WOKE UP anyway…don’t imagine there will be many to gather in 2021..even less in 2022…forget 2023..

    Like

  • Although I’ve re-read this article several times, I do not understand what point the author is attempting to make.

    Ms Sealy mentioned AG Marshall “defending Government’s hiring of private lawyers to provide legal representation for the State, saying that the Solicitor General’s Department, is understaffed.”

    This was followed by excerpts taken from paragraph 2 and paragraph 4, ‘Introductory Comments,’ of the 2018 and 2020 AudG’s Report respectively, in which Mr. Trotman is essentially expressing the concern that, despite several years of complaints, the matter of an understaffed Office of the Auditor General is not being addressed.

    She could have also used the ‘Introductory Comments’ from the 2015 Report re:

    “My Office is willing to play a greater role in the audit of the accounts of these boards, provided that additional staff is made available to the Office. There are currently 35 vacant positions within the Office and these were advertised during the course of the year. I am hoping that some of these vacancies will be filled in 2016.”

    As such, I’m having difficulty trying understand of what relevance are the excerpts from the AudG’s 2018 and 2020 reports to her initial point, unless she’s suggesting BOTH the Solicitor General and Auditor General Offices are understaffed for several years.

    Or she does not understand the word ‘Office’ refers to the ‘Office of the Auditor General.’

    Perhaps she may want to clarify.

    Like

  • @Artax

    A simple takeaway is that resources must be found for the Auditor General’s Office.

    Like

  • @ David

    You know I’m a bit slow.

    Like

  • @Artax

    Au contraire lol

    Like

  • Paula Sealy
    September 2, 2021 3:30 PM

    Re: Following his reports over the years you could only wonder what the Auditor General will say about this news.

    The AuG’s office has been shortstaffed for years. What must he do to get those vacancies filled?

    We are all slow but some are slower than others. I am slow too but it is clear that clarification is not what is being sought here.

    People will infer what they wish to and see what they want to. More and more in this country bullies seem to think insults will cause people to slink away.

    I have shared information about the AuG reports which other contributors seem to have access to but never shared. I asked questions in the past and it has encouraged those lurking in the corners of cyberspace to attempt to hijack at least one of my contributions in the past. Now this contribution has led to the questioning of my understanding of words, language construction and intentions.

    Feel free to question. But remember I also am free to question…unless this is Animal Farm.

    Like

  • People will infer what they wish to and see what they want to.

    Paula Sealy

    People have the RIGHT to do so.

    ALL of the blogmaster’s post does get hijacked. Instead of complaining and insulting people, he always try to get the conversation back on track.

    Yuh know you had that same choice. You chose to complain, insult and talk shyte instead.

    You or nobody ain’t bigger than Barbados Underground.

    Get over it.

    Like

  • Down to the nitty gritty, so far Donville is the only one serving time……he needs lots of company,

    btw, what the hell does a governmnet minister with a 15-20K monthly salary need charity from an insurance company for….too much corruption and the people’s work never gets done…but lying politicians always turn up to beg for votes…

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/09/03/tasker-its-all-lies-insists-he-has-never-laundered-funds/.

    Like

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