Are legistlators pussyfooting with Bill asks CC

Thursday, 4th September 2014 by Virgin Islands News Online

Lots of complaints against Lawyers face Complaints Commission People need recourse

Photos by VINOMembers of the media during Press briefing ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Commissioner of Complaints Mr. Elton Georges is baffled as to why the Legal Profession Bill has been taking so long to go through the necessary steps in the House of Assembly as his office continues to be bombarded with complaints against lawyers.

“We can’t do anything about it and we know that there are people who suffer,” said Mr. Georges.Complaints Commissioner Mr. Elton Georges Speaking at Press Conference on Monday 1, September, 2014

This was one of the most disturbing areas for the Complaints Commission over the years of its existence as they office is usually flooded with these matters to the extent that they sometimes make one want to cry, Mr. Georges told reporters at a press briefing on September 1, 2014.

Noting that while the Complaints Commission cannot take complaints for private entities directly, they have been pushing for government to set up a mechanism to take complaints against attorneys.

“We do have people coming to us with such complaints and some of them, they nearly make you cry, the experience that some people had in dealing with their lawyers but there is no clear cut machinery for dealing with those complaints,” said Mr Georges.

According to the Commissioner the Bill has never gotten to the stage of the second reading in the House of Assembly.

“It is another one of those legislative products (Legal Profession Bill) that need to get going,” stressed Mr. Georges. While not having seen it, he said, “As I understand there is a Bill that has been knocking around for some time now to give the underpinning to the whole matter of consumer protection and for some reason it’s not getting to the House or being passed.”

He said that among other things that Bill makes provision for the setting up of a body that would deal with the legal fraternity. “One of the things it would do, would be empowered to do is to take and deal with complaints and so we are very anxious to see that happen.”

Being baffled as to the delay in the Bill Mr Georges said, “So we have suggested that if they are other areas of the Bill that are so controversial that it keeps being pulled back that the government should at least seek to do that part of it so that people should have a recourse.”