Last night we aired the comments from Attorney General Wilfred Elrington when he spoke on the General Legal Council. That's the body which is supposed to hear complaints from the public about attorneys who fail to live up to their professional obligations.

But, there's a tremendous backlog and the body hasn't met since earlier this year - with both the Bar and the AG's office pointing fingers at each other. The Bar says he stopped them form meeting; he says they were conducting their work in a slovenly fashion. And as for the backlog, AG Elrington says the blame can't be laid at his feet because he's been travelling for...years(!):...

Hon. Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington, Attorney General
"While I'm in country I call the meetings, while I'm not in the country they were free to call the meetings and I can tell you that for 6 years I was more out of the country than in, so for 6 years they had a free reign to run the general legal council."

Jules Vasquez
"I just want to be clear on a few things though; you have been out of the country more than 3 years, this is what you are saying?"

Hon. Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington, Attorney General
"What I am saying, for the past 6 years I've been more out than in so that I never in 6 years had opportunity to come in chair meetings of the general legal council."

Elrington says that in September, Government will introduce legislation to make it easier for the body to met and dispose of pending complaints. Today the President of the Bar Eamon Courtenay provided comment to us via e-mail. He says, quote, "First the bar welcomes the announcement by the Attorney General that new legislation will be introduced in the national Assembly. He told us this more than a year ago and we have been waiting in vain since then. We have even sent proposed amendments to him without any response. Second the AG knows well that the General legal council had been meeting and dealing with complaints expeditiously until we were stopped by the AG. We were only stopped when he took over the Council to stop a complaint against him personally. Since then despite letters to him urging him to convene the council which we copied to the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice, he has refused to convene the council so we have not met.?Frankly we have sent the AG many complaints from the public who have been complained bitterly because the Council has not met, but the AG has ignored these requests. The Bar welcomes the news that finally complaints will be heard." End quote.

And that icy quote denotes some of the ongoing tension between the AG's office and the Bar. Which may be why Elrington says the Bar Association's monopoly on the legal profession is coming to an end:..

Hon. Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington, Attorney General
"I am left still to wonder why I have got to be paying dues every year while I am practicing to our bar association. Apart from the fact that they don't do anything as far as I Know to enhance the standard of legal practice in the country. I am not even inside the membership of the organization. The leadership is circulated among 4 or 5 special families so called and the officers don't move, like as I said in case of the treasurer I think has been there certainly for the 37 years that I have been a lawyer, I thin k he has been there before then. What kind of organization - you can't even move the treasurer after 37 years. Something has got to be wrong. Those of you of us who don't like that idea should be free not to have to be members of the bar and to pay the fees."

Elrington says that legislation will go to the House in September.

Channel 7