after it was widely reported that he used the podium at a public meeting in East End earlier this month to harshly criticise her work in office. Ms. Quartey vacated her post after three years when her contract came to an end on June 24.
Two weeks later, the premier told members of the public just how glad he was to see her leave. “She was more trouble than anything else,” he reportedly said at the July 8 meeting. “And on June 24 I gave a sigh of relief because we were not getting value for our money.”
Mr. O’Neal also claimed that the former AG, a native of Ghana who had been appointed under the previous government, was slow at pushing bills through. He also said he previously made attempts to have her seat vacated before her term expired.
Ms. Quartey did not let these claims go unanswered. “I consider it my duty this morning to the public, quite apart from my compelling personal reason, to respond to certain allegations,” she said during a press conference last Thursday.
Continuing, she said that her professional relationship with the premier started to deteriorate in 2008, after she stood behind Governor David Pearey during the deputy-governor selection process. Continuing, Ms. Quartey said Mr. O’Neal’s stance against the governor “bordered on treason. “I saw no place, no reason, for me to embroil myself in the ongoing dispute.”
The situation, she added, “became the beginning, or the covert beginning, of an alleged bad relationship between myself and the honourable premier.”
A heavy agenda
At the meeting, the premier also said, “In the name of Christ, you could not get her to move anything that you ask for.”
Ms. Quartey responded, stating, “Blasphemy does not need to be dignified.”
However, she said that the Virgin Islands Party-led government’s goal was to pass 45 laws in 2008, a number she described as unrealistic.
She added that the highest number of laws passed in the Virgin Islands during a year was 26; the lowest, four. While she said neither the high nor the low came while she was in office, she did not elaborate on her workload.
“For someone to come up with an agenda like this, it was not quite clear to me what they had in mind, and therefore, what value they would be receiving in that regard,” she said. “Nowhere is a performing attorney general required to be nothing but a rubber stamp, and if those were the expectations, I am happy to have disappointed.”
Firing back at the premier, who claimed she could not add “a simple amendment to the Fishing Ordinance,” Ms. Quartey implied that the source of legislative delays might rest elsewhere. She noted, for example, that the “Customs Bill” has not made its way through Cabinet in more than a decade.
She also pointed to the Parole Board Act, which she said took a decade for legislators to pass. Ms. Quartey wouldn’t say whether she plans to sue over Mr. O’Neal’s comments, but she didn’t discount the notion.
“I can only say that time will tell,” she said. “I bear no malice and if I feel the air is sufficiently cleared, that might determine one course of action.” Ms. Quartey was replaced by Baba Aziz, who is acting in her stead. Mr. Aziz, of Ghana, acted as solicitor general from March through April. He was appointed principal crown council in 2007, senior crown council in 2001.