“By the end of the week” – that’s when Jeff Prosser’s attorney Lionel Welch says he’ll file contempt proceedings against BTL in the Supreme Court. This evening Welch told us he was still working on the court papers. Shortly after we spoke to him, at 5:40, we received by fax, the copy of a letter from BTL’s attorney, Rodwell Williams to Welch. The letter says that BTL was not given any notice of application, nor has it been correctly served with the order. The letter notes that the company did receive a faxed copy, which, it is implied, does not constitute proper service. This suggests that BTL’s position will be that it never got the injunction, and so, could not act on it.
It is a position that has raised the ire of observers, ranging from senior counsel Lois Young Barrow, to the UDP, and today, the National Trade Union Congress, which issued a statement calling BTL’s action disrespect, disregard and defiance of the order of the Chief Justice. And while the UDP has joined the chorus against it, what of its leader Dean Barrow, whose law firm is the attorney for BTL? Today, Barrow told us that despite the fact of his firm’s retainer, he has an obligation to publicly point out legal wrongdoings by whoever, even if his firm represents them.
Dean Barrow, Senior Counsel
“I condemn it. I think it is in extremely bad form. I think it has grave implications. I fully support the portion of the statement that we made in which we call on BTL to apologize publicly to the Chief Justice and to the country. As a lawyer I am just as concerned. I think it does just strike a blow to the rule of law. It does indicate disrespect for the judiciary and I would really hope that BTL would do the proper and decent thing now and apologize. I think if they do that, it can help to restore confidence in the judiciary in the sense of having people now accept that it doesn’t matter how big you are, you are not above the law and if you do something which makes appears as though you place yourself above the law, you will very quickly apologize and restate your commitment to supporting the rule of law and respecting the judiciary. So I think BTL can to some extent solve this issue before contempt proceedings are taken before their Board of directors.”
Your company is on retainer by BTL and in fact I would imagine that there was some kind of service being given to the Board of Directors from your company to the Board.
“Well we are not on retainer but my partner Mr. Williams, and therefore indeed the firm, we are not on a general regular fixed retainer but Mr. Williams was retained for particular purposes, for purposes of advising the Board with respect to the proceedings of the AGM.
In terms of the injunction, I don’t know what advice Mr. Williams gave to BTL and I am not even going to ask. That is a matter between him and BTL. But as far as I am concerned, the fact that we do work for BTL, and perhaps will continue to do work for BTL, certainly will never stop me from making it public in the strongest of possible terms when BTL, or if ever again BTL does something such as what it did in terms of avoiding complying with the court injunction.
Let me just say clearly that no brief or no prospect of any brief given to me or my firm by anybody will ever prevent me from speaking out with the utmost clarity against any wrongdoing and especially when that wrongdoing involves disrespecting our justice system and rule of law.”
The NTUCB statement also condemns the Commissioner of Police for failing to send a policeman to enforce the service of the order.