Bacchanal in the Judiciary …PM: DON’T WASTE MY TIME

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Despite many calls from the legal fraternity to do something about the Chief Justice, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he will not waste time on any debate or calls for the removal of Ivor Archie from office.

He added, “If the Opposition wants to spend their time at the heels of the Chief Justice, they could do so if they wish.”

Rowley continued, “But my understanding is that there are specific conditions under which the Chief Justice can be removed from office and I am not wasting time.”

There have been calls for both Archie and members of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) to resign over the Marcia Ayers-Caesar bacchanal and also over claims that the Commission is not properly constituted owing to the fact the two members, former judges Roger Hamel-Smith and Humphrey Stollmeyer, are over the age of retirement.

Leading the call has been the Law Association which recently passed a resolution citing its no confidence in CJ Archie and called for him to resign from that office.

Insisting the Executive will maintain its distance from the Judiciary, Rowley noted the damage that misleading information could have on the public’s psyche.

Rowley spoke of the circumstances surrounding efforts to remove then Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma from office.

Sharma, in 2006, was alleged to have attempted to pervert the course of justice in the trial of former prime minister Basdeo Panday for not declaring a $10 million London bank account to the Integrity Commission.

A tribunal subsequently found that Sharma was not guilty of any wrongdoing. He retired in 2008 and Archie was appointed on Sharma’s retirement.

On the Sharma issue, Rowley said, “I watched that matter go through all the hoops until it became clear to this country that the substance of the matter in Mr Sharma’s difficulty, was Patrick Manning hounding him out of office. I looked at that in amazement because I knew how it started and I knew what the issue was.

“But for those who wanted a different narrative, members of the media have been repeating it as if it was the gospel truth, Patrick Manning, just so in a capricious way, was driving the Chief Justice out of office. Just like that, he (Manning) get up mad one day.”

Rowley said he will not be drawn into a debate on the merits of removing Archie.

He added, “So, those who are inviting me as Prime Minister now to join them in an attack on the current Chief Justice, I am making it very clear from now, I have had the experience of Patrick Manning.

He added “I have more important things to do and that is ensuring that Trinidad and Tobago’s interest is protected and that the quality of life of the people of Trinidad and Tobago is improved.”
DR KEITH ROWLEY

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