‘Is at’ a new low
ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Isat Buchanan has indicated his decision to step down as chairman of the People’s National Party (PNP) Human Rights Commission following his foul-mouthed comments aimed at Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn.
In a broadcast on a YouTube programme Buchanan quoted from a song done by convicted killer Adidja Palmer, better known as Vybz Kartel, in which he disrespectfully instructs the DPP to commit a sexual act.
Buchanan is representing Kartel in his appeal against his conviction before the United Kingdom-based Privy Council.
The attorney’s comment, which has gone viral, has attracted criticism from several social media users, with head of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Women’s Caucus, Gender Affairs Minister Olivia Grange leading a charge for PNP President Mark Golding to immediately fire him.
Grange has argued that under the guise of quoting his client, who is incarcerated for murder, Buchanan used “misogynistic, crude, nasty, sexist, low and disgraceful language in reference to the country’s chief prosecutor”.
Speaking for the JLP Women’s Caucus, Grange said: “We are mindful not to appear to politicise the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions or the holder thereof. However, right is right and wrong is wrong, and the truth of the matter is: If the holder of any office in the PNP, or anywhere, directed that comment at any female we’d have condemned it and insisted that action be taken against him.”
She called on Golding to condemn Buchanan’s posture and urged the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) to immediately probe the attorney for breach of the canons of the profession.
According to Grange, she was disappointed that an attorney and chairman of a body within the PNP could bring himself to utter such insolent and vile comments in reference to a woman.
Grange said the comments represent a new low in the treatment of women by men in the PNP.
“It is Mr Golding’s own action to politicise the DPP that has created the environment for some men in the leadership of the PNP to believe they can refer to this woman public servant using hateful, vile, harassing and bullying language. The comments have disrespected every woman in leadership across Jamaica and must concern every well-thinking man in politics and the wider society,” said Grange as she invited all women in leadership, including PNP Chairman Dr Angela Brown Burke, and PNP Women’s Movement President Patricia Duncan Sutherland, to join her in condemning Buchanan’s “vile and inappropriate rhetoric against another woman in leadership”.
While not stating the party’s position on the comments made by Buchanan, the PNP in a mid-morning release said the attorney had indicated to Golding his intention to step down as chairman of the party’s Human Rights Commission.
“He believes that resigning is in the party’s best interests as the remarks in question do not reflect the values of the People’s National Party. The party accepts his resignation and expresses gratitude to Comrade Isat for his service to the commission, and thanks him for his contributions,” said the PNP.
Buchanan had previously been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC in October 2022.
At that time Buchanan was accused of breaching Canon 1b of the Legal Profession (Canons of Professional Ethics) Rules which stipulates that an attorney shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of the profession and shall abstain from behaviour which may tend to discredit the profession of which he is a member.
He had accused the DPP’s office of being shady following a request by the defence to have a cellphone that featured prominently in the Kartel murder trial re-examined. The re-examination was in preparation for an appeal to the Privy Council.
In her response the DPP said Buchanan had mischaracterised events. She also accused him of engaging in irresponsible and reckless behaviour.