Outspoken attorney, Israel Khan SC, is calling on three retired Chief Justices to stand up and be counted with respect to the conduct of the sitting Chief Justice Ivor Archie and the effect allegations against him are having on the Judiciary.
In an open letter to Clinton Bernard, Michael de la Bastide and Satnarine Sharma, Khan referred to Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh’s letter to Archie and judges of the Supreme Court, in which he warned that the allegations had the potential to shake judicial independence and the separation of powers, reduce public confidence in the judiciary and open up judges to blackmail or worse.
Khan told them it was absolutely necessary for them to make a public statement on the predicament facing the judiciary.
Khan added, “My Lord Chief Justices, with the greatest of respect, Your Lordships cannot remain silent, because all three of your ‘good selves’ led the Judiciary over a long period of years and thus silence is not an option while the Judiciary is burning (like Rome) to the ground.
Please say something, anything, just speak out because “evil men prevail when good men remain silent,” Khan implored. He also warned them that history will not absolve them if they remained silent.
“If Your Lordships are of the view that the attacks on Chief Justice Archie are unwarranted and thus unbecoming, then it is incumbent upon Your Lordships to say so. If Your Lordships suspect that there is an ulterior motive for criticizing Chief Justice Archie, then say so. And if it is Your Lordships’ considered opinion that the evidential status of the information in the public domain against CJ Archie is insufficient to trigger Section 137 of the Constitution, then do not hesitate to say so.
“But if Your Lordships are of the view that CJ Archie’s alleged misconduct constitutes prima facie evidence of misbehaviour and thus needs to be investigated via Section 137 of the Constitution, Your Lordships have a sacred duty to say so to all and sundry.”
Khan told the retirees that if they considered their personal welfare and wanted to remain in quiet retirement without controversy, then they should return to the President their respective Trinity Cross awards.
Boodoosingh, in an e-mail to colleagues on December 15, said he had to speak out and also called on the Chief Justice to do the honourable thing in the face of the mounting chorus of condemnation against him.
ISRAEL KHAN SC