GHRA shocked by AG's intervention
June 17, 2004
The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has called the intervention by the Attorney-General to block the implementation of a court order that the 13-year-old girl in a controversial relationship with a businessman be sent to the New Opportunity Corps as shocking.
It said in a release issued on Tuesday that because AG Doodnauth Singh was the former attorney of Reeaz Khan, the adult with whom the girl was involved, "his intervention may be perceived as neither disinterested, nor in the public interest."
The GHRA said that the intervention of the Attorney-General is "bringing the justice system into disrepute and brings inappropriate pressure to bear on the judge in question."
But Singh in an invited comment to the Stabroek News yesterday said that as Attorney-General it is his "responsibility to attempt to ensure that the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old are not violated."
About other sections of the GHRA statement which describes the Attorney- General's intervention as being "remarkable for its insensitivity to the efforts by the judge to protect the child and listen to a wide range of opinion of how best to do so", Singh declined to respond to what he describes as "the Association's contorted view of the law".
The GHRA statement says, "Hopefully, we can look forward to frequent interventions of this nature from the Attorney-General, given the frequency with which children are detained in circumstances threatening to their health and morals. If this is not to be the case, the unprecedented circumstances require an explanation to the nation from the Attorney-General."
Last week Justice B S Roy directed that the 13-year old be kept at the New Opportunity Corps until the determination of contempt proceedings brought by her mother's lawyer, Nigel Hughes. He did so after a number of other homes were inspected and on hearing the opinions of a number of other persons. Singh in his affidavit suggested that the child could be sent to other institutions.