Basseterre, St. Kitts – The Attorney General’s Office and Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs did much to advance the Good Governance Agenda in St. Kitts and Nevis this year. Despite other achievements, the ministry’s significant success in 2023, was its dedication to safeguarding the public purse against immoral acts and wastage.
This was stated by Attorney-General (AG) the Honourable Garth Wilkin when he contributed to the 2024 Budget Debate during a Sitting of the National Assembly on December 18, 2023. Thanks to the diligent work of the staff of the Attorney General’s Office [AGO], AG Wilkin said the Government was able to save a whopping EC$5 million in its Budget for Claims Against the Government.
“How did we accomplish this, Madam Speaker? Simply by changing the attitude of the office by defending lawsuits against the State that needed to be defended, instead of the ridiculous policy of settling matters without fighting, just so certain Unity-aligned lawyers could easily get their legal fees paid,” AG Wilkin asserted.
He noted that this considerable amount can now be reassigned and utilized for the betterment of the country and the people by being invested in projects and programmes such as the construction of desalination plants, urgent overseas medical care for children and the construction of smart homes for the most vulnerable.
The Attorney-General stated that upon assuming office, he met an untenable situation where a whole industry of lawyers was suing the State for any and everything.
“The AGO’s Budget for Claims Against the Government was like a money tree for some lawyers. Madam Speaker, the AGO’s Budget for outsourcing legal work was like a money tree for some Unity-cronies,” the Attorney-General said, “Those trees have been uprooted. Some are upset. I don’t care, that’s their business. Protection of the public purse is our #1 priority at the Attorney-General’s Office. We are defending the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Minister Wilkin lauded the hard work and dedication of the staff of the Attorney-General’s Office and commended them for completely buying into his policy shift. This, he said, he hopes will continue in 2024.
“In 2024, we have made positions available so that we can continue to recruit more lawyers who are prepared to fight for you,” said the Honourable Garth Wilkin.