Minister Duncan: “What I said is the truth” Bar Association did react to draft ordinance

POSTED: 01/9/13 11:33 PM

St. Maarten – An apparent misunderstanding has led the dean of the Bar Association, mr. Remco Stomp, to tell this newspaper that it had not received a concept of the draft attorneys ordinance from Justice Minister Roland Duncan. But correspondence provided to this newspaper by the minister yesterday shows that the Bar already wrote to the ministry on December 17 of last year. Earlier, the minister had said in a radio program that the Bar Association had received the draft and that it had commented on it.

“What I have said is the truth,” Duncan stated in an email to this newspaper. Based on the initial reaction from the Bar Association, this newspaper concluded in an op-ed that the minister had “stretched the truth beyond breaking point” when he made his radio-statements. That opinion obviously does not hold water.

After Today published a brief article on Saturday under the headline Bar Association did not receive draft law dean Stomp stated in an email yesterday: “There is a misunderstanding in the sense that there are several drafts. The Bar did receive a draft that we know as the draft-De Boer and this is what Duncan apparently refers to.”

In the December 17 letter, the Bar Association reacts to the draft Attorneys Ordinance written by Professor De Boer. “The Bar has discussed the draft extensively. The result of the discussion has been related in a letter to de Boer.”

The Bar sent Minister Duncan a copy of the letter with unspecified attachments.

But dean Stomp also noted: “The Bar has learned that within your ministry there are plans to write a new national ordinance for the legal profession. The bar would appreciate to be consulted about that draft as well. The Bar indicates already now that it is desirable for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom to have a uniform national ordinance.”

Minister Duncan sent this newspaper yesterday a copy of the draft-De Boer. It is a revised version that the Justice Ministry received on Monday. “When my Judicial Affairs advisors and I have studied it, I shall discuss it with the board of the Bar Association here and determine if it is ready for the legislative process. I shall keep in touch with Prof. De Boer and my colleagues of Aruba and Curacao to synchronize matters as much as possible,” Minister Duncan wrote in an email to this newspaper.

The Minister referred to one particular article in the draft ordinance that deals with the training of interns at law offices. The article basically outlines that the Bar Association provides this training for interns; it also states that the contents and the duration of the training as well as the exams will be regulated. Minister Duncan wants to make this training obligatory.

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