SHIRLEY PETRA LALSINGH passed away peacefully on Au-gust 10th, 2018 at her home in Valsayn, Trinidad.
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“Blighs” continue abated between high officeholders whilst tax payers pay for their mishaps, indiscretion, wrongful exercise of discretion and incompetence. The Head of the Judiciary and the JLSC (or the incomplete composition) were the sole cause for former Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to be appointed a High Court Judge and within days of such appointment, for her to be fired. Whether the “judge is still a judge,” is to be determined in judicial review proceedings brought by Ms Ayers-Caesar.
Amidst several disputes as to facts in that matter, the Government through the Attorney-General decided to go before the courts to have an “interpretation” as to whether the multitude of prisoners who had part-heard matters before Ayers-Caesar can now have their cases started afresh before a new judicial officer.
Alternatively, what exactly is the status of their cases in the Magistrates Courts? So, rather than investigate the person or authority responsible for the mess resulting in over 50 part-heard cases becoming aborted, the Government of the day decided to go to court to find out how it can possibly clean up the mess! If that is not a “bligh” amongst high office-holders, then the simple man knows not what is!
In response to the Chief Justice going on a purported sabbatical leave, the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General are yet again going to seek another “interpretation” as opposed to invoking section 137 of the Constitution. It appears trite that this will result in an investigation of the entire affair and the person at the heart of it all. Who is paying for these “interpretations” before the courts? Taxpayers deserve to know now, what the costs have been for the first “interpretation” application and what are the likely costs for the proposed second “interpretation” application.
I cast no aspersions, but the simple and ordinary citizen is bawling for food and a decent way of life, why are these citizens being asked to pay for the actions of high office-holders? Can we expect to see the lawyers involved in these “interpretation” cases, additionally receiving ranks of senior counsel? Are “blighs” going to be shared yet again?
It is incomprehensible to any sensible and decent minded person that the Government will not act affirmatively on the Chief Justice given the allegations and/or evidence and/or information put out in the public domain. Should the court declare that the Chief Justice had a legitimate expectation to access sabbatical leave, what next? Matter ends for the Government and life continues in the Judiciary as usual? If the court declares that the Chief Justice was wrong in law in accessing sabbatical leave, will an appeal then follow?
No doubt the former President, Anthony Carmona will want to be represented in those proceedings by lawyers as well as the Chief Justice. These lawyers will ultimately be funded by the State and therefore taxpayers. It is nothing short of an injustice to have the taxpayers foot the bill for legal costs involved in these “interpretations.”
Now that we have newly elected President, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes (sincerest congratulations to her), the question being asked is whether there will be a shift in the Prime Minister’s thought processes. Rowley appeared only too happy to have “survived” Carmona. Is it more likely that the newly-elected President will be more easily persuaded to invoke section 137 of the Constitution and to appoint a new CJ from such persons recommended by the Government?
Rumours are already spreading that we will have a first female Chief Justice. Conspiracists are already theorising that the woman for whom CJ Archie publicly gave “proxy” will be appointed the next Chief Justice.
I personally have no issue with any individual, but if I had a pick for the next CJ, I would look elsewhere. Thanks to one Judicial personality, the country has now become aware of matters within the Judiciary which it ought to have known of in the first place. The ratio decidendi of the Court of Appeal in the recent table tennis case is that it is far better to have no selections/appointments (inclusive of a Chief Justice) than to have selections of persons under a process/system which is perceived to be unfair.
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