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No agreement reached on Joint Select Committee for Lawyers’ Bill

Government’s bid to reach across the floor and get agreement on the controversial Legal Practitioners Bill falls flat in the LA after independents refuse an offer for the bill to go to a Joint Select Committee for review and amendments.

This after a damning private members motion filed by East End MLA Arden McLean not only accuses major law firms of breaking the law, but points fingers at Financial Services Minister Hon. Wayne Panton alleging conflict of interest.

After East End MLA’s motion to prosecute law firms he believes break the law, suggestions to move the Legal Practitioners Bill forward on the agenda fell flat Friday 24 February.

“I am regretful that members do not wish that approach, the government can but offer,” Premier McLaughlin said.

The Premier failed to get fellow legislators on board to review the bill after concerns were raised by the Opposition leader Hon. McKeeva Bush about Mr McLean’s motion.

“If I was government I would try to move in on this now, this is not because as I say it is not just the Legal Practitioners Bill, this motion accuses the minister who is responsible for bill and I think that needs to be dealt with fast and efficient and clear the air.

The premier agreed to Mr Bush’s suggestion proposing to reserve Monday for an in-camera committee to air all concerns on the bill, an action that would require unanimous support. But Mr McLean refused.

“If a committee of the whole house is suggested, agreed upon it must be in public where witnesses can be called,” he said.

Minister Panton, speaking on Cayman 27 Thursday (23 February) evening says Mr McLean’s motion is dangerous suggesting ulterior motives.
“This is not someone looking for an opportunity to give constructive input on something this is someone looking to attack a whole bunch of people at the same time,” Mr Panton said.

The Law Society has come out against the motion as well and refuted all allegations the Legal Practitioner’s Bill remains on the agenda for debate. Amendments to the Spent Convictions Bill were approved on second reading Friday and debate on health related bills were continuing.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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