John Jeremie was regarded as a close associate of the late Prime Minister, Patrick Manning.
That is no secret.
First, he was made Attorney General. Then he became our High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Then he was brought back to be Attorney General until Manning called the snap general elections in 2010 and lost.
Since then, Jeremie returned to private practice during the term of the PP Government. But when Dr Keith Rowley became Prime Minister in 2015, Jeremie was one of the Manning “people” who were left out in the cold by the new PNM administration.
So when Jeremie lined up for the CLICO shareholders against the PNM Government, it brought the ire of the leadership so much that they want to take him to the disciplinary committee of the Law Association for a possible conflict of interest.
What is the conflict of interest?
That when the CLICO bacchanal broke in 2009, Jeremie was Attorney General and had in his possession all the information. Now in 2017, he is appearing on the other side – the shareholders.
Well, Jeremie has no fear over Government’s threat to refer him to the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association
Jeremie is ready to appear before the disciplinary committee.
Jeremie supported a statement made on Friday by another former Attorney General, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. In his statement, Maharaj, who is also representing a group of shareholders in the lawsuit, described the report as a “desperate and cowardly attack on the integrity of a senior counsel.”
“We shall not be intimidated by yet another of what can only be described to be ham-fisted efforts which were not pursued in court to defeat the claims of our clients and we shall continue to vigorously defend the interests of our respective clients in this matter.”
He claimed that he had carefully studied the issue of conflict of interest and Jeremie was not in breach.
“They suggest that Mr Jeremie has not only the right to represent his clients, but his clients have the constitutional right to representation of their choice. Mr Jeremie is a critical element of the team.”
The Government has initiated the winding up petition and is seeking to appoint provisional liquidator for the company as it seeks to recoup the almost $15 billion debt still owed to it.
If the Government decides to make good their threat, disciplinary proceedings under Legal Profession Act: Code of Ethics could be brought.
The legislation states: “An attorney-at-law shall not accept private employment in a matter upon merits of which he previously acted in a judicial capacity or for which he had substantial responsibility while he was in public employment.”