Pilgrim hits back

A former president of the Barbados Bar Association has dismissed a senior Government minister’s criticism of the legal profession as “a pure red herring” to distract from the legal troubles facing Speaker of the House Michael Carrington.

Andrew Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY that while he agreed the Legal Profession Act needed to be updated, lawyers had been clamouring for changes but parliamentarians had not answered the call.

Speaking at a meeting of his St James South constituency branch on Sunday, Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss said the existing legislation did not ensure enough accountability and, in most cases, mandates lawyers to have oversight for the conduct of their colleagues since the disciplinary committee is comprised of only attorneys.

However, Pilgrim hit back today.

Attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim
Attorney-at-law Andrew Pilgrim

“Yes, the legal profession has many grave concerns that need to be addressed but there are few very bad apples that are spoiling it for a lot of us and those bad apples need to be properly judged . . . Anyone who breaches the law should have to meet the full force of the law and the disciplinary committee needs to be upgraded but it can’t upgrade itself,” he said.

“People like [Inniss] – Members of Parliament – allow the law to remain how it is. It is an archaic law; it needs to be changed so that lawyers can be judged by people other than lawyers alone. But we have been calling out to them . . . and asked to change it; they didn’t do it . . .

“The real hard truth is that the Government has to change the law and if the Government doesn’t do it, it’s the Government fault,” Pilgrim added.

Inniss had made his comments as he avoided addressing the situation involving Carrington – an attorney-law whom the court ordered to pay to a former client, money owed from the sale of his deceased aunt’s property – even though he said the matter had brought to the fore the broader issue of lawyers’ conduct.

“Now that his friend is in difficulties, he is coming out to talk about other lawyers . . . Get to the point Mr Minister! We don’t want any red herrings . . . We want people to tell us what is going on with [Carrington] sitting down alongside them in these circumstances,” Pilgrim insisted.

“It’s just annoying to think that these people think that they can tell us anything they want, whenever they want to distract us from the fact that this serious issue is being dealt with in the face of Barbadians. It is so annoying and abhorrent to me and something really needs to be done and I am wondering what type of protest is appropriate to make the Government see that it is unacceptable for them to continue in this way.”

He also took issue with Inniss’ complaint that while the number of lawyers in Barbados was increasing legal fees were not decreasing.

“This is just a politician opening his mouth because he has one and talking and I challenge him to say whose fees are too high for what,” Pilgrim dared.

“Where is he when I am doing free work and working for people for next to nothing and when I am doing as many as 15 murder cases for legal aid fees that would pay me approximately . . . 25 cents an hour? When I get paid $1,500 to work on a murder case for four and a half years where is he?”

Pilgrim said while some lawyers may be charging high fees, people could “shop around and find a good lawyer who is charging a reasonable fee”.


9 Responses to Pilgrim hits back

  1. Kennyatta Chery
    Kennyatta Chery January 28, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Love how you are willing to take them on my good friend Andrew Tight Pilgrim. You have no affiliation to either of those parties, so there’s no need to bite your tongue. They refuse to update the laws so that everyone can be held accountable to the law. Carrington know exactly what he can gat away with because he is a lawyer and a politician. Continue to talk your talk my brother. They are always trying to divert from the real issues that needs to be addressed.

  2. Ronald Field January 28, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Just what I was saying all along. Who is there to make the change when the only ones who can are the corrupt ones who keep the broken system in place. Justice has a price that the common man cannot afford. When a lawyer can advise you that you will visit court at least 5 times before your case will be heard and this has become the norm that everyone has grown accustomed and when a speaker of the house can conduct himself like this and remain the speaker of the house pray tell how is it any longer possible for the people to have any respect for the government?

  3. Asiba January 28, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Pilly , my blood , you are hitting hard hard -right into the Solar Plexus. The Minister seems floored. Will he be able to get up from the combination of punches. Wow ! Talk about” Wash off ” Cheese -on- bredders !

  4. Donna Harewood January 28, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Wuhpax! (Excuse my spelling) I agree with the minister that changes need to be made. I don’t think what he said distracted anybody, but Pilly is right that it is the government that must change the laws. I stand to be corrected but I think the minister did say that he wasn’t sure that the lawyers in the House would support the changes. There are lawyers on his side. What did he say about them with that statement? Hmmm…..

  5. jr smith January 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    As like, so many institutions, which cater for the people, they all behave in a corrupt manner, because it becomes hard to be truthful, honest and the lack of integrity.
    I don’t know where MR, Pilgrim was living in the past 5 years , if he want to be honest, could you please Mr, pilgrim get your act together and clear up/clean up the many cases , of misconduct by attorneys against Bajans, who has and is still suffering and trying to survive the wicked deeds , imposed by crooked Attorneys on the island.

  6. jr smith January 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Bajans have imposed a problem on ourselves, seems as though the only people who can be politicians on the island of Barbados are lawyers, so what do we really expect.

  7. Mr Whapax January 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    It is time that the politicians in this country start to earn those massive salaries that we the taxpayers pay them, by working to save our ever sinking economy rather than making silly comments on things they know little about.

    If only Mr Inniss had spoken with such clarity on his own colleague and his obligations to his client rather than seeking to lambaste a whole profession. I for one, am not in favour of lay people to judge lawyers. Complaints may involve procedure and evidence, matters that lay persons are not equipped to deal with. The disciplinary committee refers matters to the court of Appeal when it makes its findings, so there is nothing wrong with the process. There is also a criminal process where you can report matters to the police.

    It is for Mr Griffith, if he has the case in court to continue the process there. How is Mr Griffith’s problem in receiving the estate’s funds the fault of the bar association or the rest of lawyers? Let us be fair rather than jumping on the bash the lawyers bandwagon.

    Pilly is right. Many lawyers do pro bono or work for legal aid which pays shocking rates compared to other places. Perhaps our MPs on high are unaware of the struggles that many lawyers who have no connections or friends in high places go through.

  8. Joy January 28, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Well said Andrew!

  9. Leroy Bourne January 29, 2015 at 12:12 am

    it is time that the legal arm of Barbados( Bar association) look into the bad practices of the bad lawyers and debar and jail them.A lady from St .George sold 3acres of land that her late Husband left for the three children ,and up to this day ,some 10 plus years later no money was paid to the owner.The lawer that sold the land is still walking the streets and enjoying the benefits from the sale of the land.Is the attorney general going to wait until people take maters in there own hands ,before something is done? Will someone please look into this matter .


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