Rowley Tells Lee why Gov’t Hires Attorney

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

GOVERNMENT sees no reason why attorney Richard Beckles should not be hired by the state.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Monday answered a question asked by Opposition Member of Parliament David Lee who questioned if Beckles was also hired to represent the state in key legal decisions in the energy sector. 

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Lee had directed the question to Minister of Energy Stuart Young last Friday, following the High Court ruling against Beckles who was ordered along with his law firm, The Legal Consultancy, to pay $1.2 million dollars in compensation for negligence.

But Dr Rowley, speaking at a press conference he hosted, said Beckles was initially hired in 2014 to represent the National Gas Company (NGC) under the People’s Partnership administration.

The prime minister said Lee was in no position to ask any question on the use of taxpayer’s dollars as he himself was out on bail for misbehaviour in public office.

While he did not call Beckles by name, Dr Rowley said, “We have found him to be an outstanding lawyer and we have kept him for his skill, for his service, his integrity and his dedication and he is an integral part of the legal team.”

He said, “We heard the court’s ruling, we looked at the situation and we are convinced that there is nothing in the judgement to prevent the state from continuing to use the brilliant services of the said lawyer and that is the Government’s position.”

Dr Rowley also said he learnt something new, as a result of the case. He said the matter involved the use of a passport number that was not corresponding in the document.

Beckles, through his law firm, had advised state-owned bank First Citizens to enter into a mortgage agreement with the purchaser of land in Barataria Keelan Aaron Hunte and seller Robert Ferguson John who impersonated the rightful owner Robert John who currently lives in the US. 

Dr Rowley said he learnt that a passport has two numbers other than the main one printed in bold at the top.


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