Attorney Grant Connell, one of the lawyers affected by the change at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ main courthouse parking area, said the change is unfortunate.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on November 17th informed attorneys that years of free parking in the courtroom courtyard had ended.
The Prime Minister said that he had listened to the vendors, who have informed him that it is unjust that lawyers receive free parking while they must pay daily costs.
In an interview with ANN, said that he was unsure what triggered the call by the Prime Minister but is hopeful that it can be resolved.
‘It’s a little unfortunate it had to go that way. I don’t know what triggered it, but I hope it can be resolved,’ Connell stated.
Prime Minister Gonsalves in an earlier interview discussing the matter stated ‘they said that my pronouncements amount to discrimination against lawyers and that the action is arbitrary, capricious, and myopic. I understand that a male lawyer said that I was involved in Jackassing. I have never seen a situation like this where people are abusing words in defence of their privilege. “They think they’re a privileged group.’
Connell in response to the Prime Minister’s classification of the parking in the courtyard as a privilege, said it would be a privilege if the compound was kept up to standard.
‘I was told, that it was said, that we are privileged. I would deem the parking in the High Court yard a privilege if the High Court building and the yard was kept as it’s supposed to be,’ he said.
The Attorney, saying that he regularly parks in the courtyard highlighted some of the shortcomings of the compound.
‘I park there all the time. In the back there’s dirt, old truck, old van, chopped up trees. You know you have the yard fowl, yardie, they defecate all over the place so you have to be dodging that. Stray dogs, so you have the dog crap to dodge as well, and because the fence is missing a few bars, humans come in as well, they defecate, you smell it sometimes. On afternoons you can see a vagrant emptying the dustbins trying to get scraps while the judge drives out,’
Connell described these observations as ‘distasteful’.
The attorney then turned his criticism towards the building that houses the High Court, likening it to a jungle.
‘I mean, look at the building itself, you know in there is like a little jungle. You have trees growing on the roof, you have windows like they want to drop out. You have a building that is literally eaten by woodlice, I mean, a few assizes back I was at the bar table and it ripped by suit because the woodlice had eaten–well BRAGSA or somebody came and did a temporary patch. There was a hole in the ground, part of the railing was falling down. The bathroom had a big hole in it, I saw water coming in the courtyard some months ago, it was the sewerage leaking,’ Connell said.
He called the condition of the building and overall compound sad, due the fact that this is where judges and lawyers work, where state funerals are held and where delegates from other countries come to visit.