Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2014 Contents A5
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has defended
the appointment of former Police Com-
plaints Authority (PCA) director Gillian
Lucky as a High Court judge.
Archie broke his silence on the issue
during his address at the opening of the
2014/2015 law term at the Hall of Justice
yesterday which coincided with Lucky s
first official day of work since her appoint-
ment early this month.
As he sought to explain "misconcep-
tions" about the process of appointing
judicial officers, Archie, who is also the
head of the Judicial and Legal Service
Commission (JLSC), said the Law Asso-
ciation was consulted over possible objec-
tions to the appointment from its senior
"I might add at this stage that in terms
of the most recent appointment, there
were none," Archie said.
He also noted that candidates were put
through a rigorous recruitment process,
including psychometric testing and com-
prehensive security vetting, intended to
uncover any "unsavoury or illegal activ-
ities," before the JLSC made its decision.
Lucky s appointment was controversial
as several media reports claimed a member
of the JLSC had raised concerns over her
past political involvement (Lucky is a for-
mer UNC MP and COP member) and the
strong views on topical issues she expressed
in her newspaper column and television
show. She is also a former State prosecutor.
President Anthony Carmona is yet to
announce her replacement at the PCA.
As Archie sought to dismiss the concerns
yesterday he said politicians could be eli-
gible for judicial posts once there was a
sufficient "cooling-off" period between
their political activity and eventual
"Judges do not just drop from the sky
with blank minds. Like any other citizens,
they are entitled to vote and will no doubt
have personal views on a variety of mat-
ters," Archie said.
But he pointed out that once they
assumed office, some restrictions applied
"Of course, they are also expected, once
in office, to refrain from commenting,
otherwise than where it is necessary in
their judgments, on matters of policy or
political affairs so as to preserve public
confidence in the independence and
impartiality of the Judiciary," Archie said.
He also said owing to her prior expe-
rience in the post as a temporary judge,
Lucky was capable of acting impartially
during her tenure.
"She has had a very distinguished career
at the bar and has already established the
fact that she can be a very effective judge
as well, so we are delighted to receive her
into the fold once more," Archie said.
The chairman of the COP, Public
Administration Minister Carolyn Seep-
ersad-Bachan, has requested an inves-
tigation into an alleged fist fight that
took place at the party s operations cen-
tre, Charlieville, Chaguanas on Sunday.
"An investigation will be done. I do
not know the details of it," she told
reporters during an interview at the Par-
"To this day I did not know the details
as to what started the fight... what was
the basis of the fight," she added.
Two COP members engaged in a fight
after one allegedly called the other a
snake for having left the party and after
his return was given a significant party
Seepersad-Bachan said she knew "that
there were many who are very upset over
Mr Alexander because he has been very
acrimonious with the party and therefore
that must present problems and chal-
lenges in itself."
She said: "That has been the problem.
We have to manage it."
Seepersad-Bachan said she was not
saying she was supporting "Alexander
because I cannot see how we could put
anybody in a prominent position like
that. That is my personal view."
She added, however, that "it doesn t
mean we have to go around fighting
down and hitting down each other over
Seepersad-Bachan said she did not
witness any fight but attempts were
being made to establish a committee to
investigate the matter.
She confirmed that a joint statement
was read at the national council on Sun-
day in which both she and the leader of
the party, Legal Affairs Minister Prakash
Ramadhar, indicated their intention to
work together in the interest of the party.
The two were very critical of each
other when they challenged each other
for the post of political leader during
the party s internal elections in July.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie is calling for urgent
constitutional reform to give the Judiciary greater
In his opening address at the start of the 2014/2015
law term yesterday, Archie claimed an insufficient
annual budget allocation and delays in the Govern-
ment s release of funds were the main problems
affecting the Judiciary.
"The truth is that if anyone tried to run a business
the way we run the government it would buss!"
Archie said as he politely criticised the existing
public sector financing model used for the Judiciary
and other major State agencies.
Archie noted that the Judiciary was funded using
the same system as applied to government ministries
which was susceptible to occasional irrational budget
"The danger is that it may be done without careful
consideration to the judiciary s internal priorities
which may not be fully understood and may not be
the same as other state actors," Archie said.
He also suggested the current system opened the
Judiciary to neglect from politicians.
"The Judiciary has been a de facto pillar of stability
in this society from even before independence. It
goes without saying that politicians, MPs, ministers
and budget administrators may be easily lulled into
thinking that judicial affairs may not be a front-
burner issue," Archie said.
To illustrate his point, Archie revealed that in last
year s budget the Judiciary was given only 50 per
cent of its development programme budget while
no allocation was made for the running of the Family
Court which caused a $25 million shortfall.
He claimed issues with delays in the release of
Judiciary funding was preventing it from meeting
its financial commitments to suppliers and con-
"Not only were contractors not paid on time but
many essential projects and contracts came to an
abrupt halt. Those that continued without payment
did so in good faith," Archie said.
He also said the outdated system was hindering
the Judiciary s ability to attract competent staff to
fill several key management positions.
Archie said: "At the moment, there are some of
the management positions left unfilled, largely or
exclusively due to the inability to attract top talent
by paying realistic salaries. How can we effectively
manage and pursue innovation in those circum-
stances?" he asked.
He was critical of delays in the construction of
several judicial centres which he said would help
improve efficiency and reduce the backlog in the
criminal justice system.
"Between 2010 and 2015 the country would have
spent something in the order of $300 billion and
we have not gotten any of the judicial complexes
off the ground," Archie told the audience at the Hall
of Justice, which included Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan
and Justice Minister Emmanuel George.
He noted the delay in the centres was also affecting
the Judiciary s ability to hire new judges.
"Right now we have shortlisted judges for recruit-
ment but we can t take them on board because we
have nowhere to put them," Archie said.
In closing his lengthy speech, Archie recommended
a new system which afforded the Judiciary a fixed
percentage of the annual national budget...
"...A funding model that respects the independ-
ence of the Judiciary, that gives us a fair share of
the national budget, that does not depend on the
goodwill of whoever happens to hold the executive
reins, that allows for rational and efficient manage-
ment of funds and is responsive to long-term needs
as well as immediate environmental shifts, while
retaining transparency and accountability," Archie
$$ for Judiciary
Carolyn wants probe into alleged fight
Archie bats for Lucky's
appointment as judge
Newly appointed High Court Judge Gillian Lucky,right, chats with an attorney before the start yesterday's interfaith service in
commemoration of the opening of the 2014/2015 law term at Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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