Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 11th 2015 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi
has denied accusations by Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that
he is in breach of the Legal Profes-
sion Act by acting as both lawyer
and witness in the Anand Ramlogan
Section 34 defamation lawsuit
against Opposition Leader Dr Keith
"The Prime Minister has embar-
rassed herself as a self-appointed Sen-
ior Counsel in that she failed to
demonstrate any knowledge of the
process of trials of the rules of evi-
At a UNC political meeting on
Monday night in Barrackpore, Per-
sad-Bissessar took Al-Rawi to task,
saying he was in breach of Rule 35 of
the Code of Ethics Part A of the Legal
Profession Act which states that an
attorney cannot be both lawyer and
witness in the same matter, except in
formalities like filing of dates, etc.
"I ask the Law Association what
do you have to say about this...what
does the Disciplinary Committee has
to say about that?" she questioned.
In a telephone interview, Al-Rawi
said he was not in breach of the act
because he was an instructing attorney
and not the advocate attorney in the
He said: "Part A of Section 35 states
that an attorney should not stand as
a witness for a client unless it is a
matter of formality or if it is a matter
in the interest of justice.
"This rule is the codification of the
common law which is designed to
protect against embarrassing the
administration of justice by having a
lawyer stand as the advocate for his
client and argue a case and then go
into the witness box and be put into
the invidious position of having to
supervise his own cross-examination
and his own re-examination.
"I am not advocate attorney in this
matter. My firm of which I am part
is on record for Dr Rowley as instruct-
"Attorney Reginald Armour SC and
attorney Vanessa Gopaul have conduct
of arguing the case at the trial of this
"I will never have to be both advo-
cate and in the witness box at the
Al-Rawi said Persad-Bissessar can-
not make a complaint to the Disci-
plinary Committee because she was
not involved in the matter.
He said: "Mrs Persad-Bissessar has
demonstrated gross ignorance of that
fact that she does not have the stand-
ing to make a complaint under the
Legal Profession Act to the Discipli-
nary Committee as she is not a litigant
or interested party in the Ramlogan
litigation against Dr Rowley."
Attempts to reach Law Association
president Seenath Jairam SC on his
cellphone were unsuccessful.
RACHAEL ESPINET and
The sickout action by officers of the
Police Service, the Fire Service and
the Prison Service may continue for
longer than two days.
This was announced yesterday during
a joint news conference by the Police
Service and Social Welfare Association,
the Fire Service Association and the
Prisons Officers Association at the
Besson Street Police Station, Port-of-
"We cannot allow what is happening
to continue because it is deteriorating
the morale, performance and putting
national security at unprecedented risk.
The membership met today and enjoyed
attendance from the Fire Service and
prison, and a lot of similar sentiments
being shared. What we have been
advised is that they are not going to
relent," said Inspector Anand Ramesar,
president of the association.
For the past two days the officers
from the respective services have
engaged in a sickout action, also known
as "blue flu," after threatening action
for the past few weeks. The police, in
particular, were threatening to withhold
their services for Panorama and Car-
nival. The prisons, courts, and many
other services have been disrupted
because of this action.
"What would have started off as a
two days of rest and reflection will now
be a continuous action by members,"
This protest action stems from an
impasse between the three associations
and the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO)
Stephanie Lewis over salary negotiations
for the period 2011 to 2013.
Originally, the associations agreed
that the CPO would take a market
assessment of salaries at similar organ-
isations as comparators on which to
breaching legal rules
base a salary agreement. However, the heads of all
the associations claim the CPO does not want to
include the Airport Authority s salaries.
They are calling on the Minister of Finance, Larry
Howai, or Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
to intervene and thus bring an end to the protest
And for yet another day members of the protective
services in Tobago also stayed away from work.
The T&T Guardian was informed that police officers
on a shift at the Roxborough Police Station had been
on duty since Sunday as they were not relieved by
their colleagues since the call for rest and relaxation
started. Checks revealed that there were four people
on active duty---one sergeant, one corporal, and two
Acting senior superintendent in the Tobago Divi-
sion, Joanne Archie, said she was unable to provide
specific figures but confirmed there was absenteeism.
However, she said, the situation was manageable.
"In Tobago, there is some level of absenteeism.
However, we have our contingency plans in place
and all of the stations are operating on an adequate
strength," Archie said.
What the Police Service said
In a statement late yesterday the Police Service
said there was no significant change in the attendance
rate of officers at police stations yesterday as "stations
continued to be fully operational with no disruption
in services to members of the public."
It said of "the 6,787 officers in the Trinidad and
Tobago Police Service, 65 failed to report for duty
on March 9 while today, March 10, 105 absences
were recorded. This would mean there was a 98.6
per cent turnout of officers over the two days.
The rate of absenteeism is way below long term
averages for police officers, at this time; and is con-
sidered negligible; with the assumption therefore
that full attendance would have been achieved.
The statement said acting Police Commissioner
Ann Marie Alleyne-Daly has expressed confidence
in police officers and thanks them for their high
degree of responsibility in view of the prevailing sit-
uation regarding the status of salary negotiations.
"The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service continues
to support its officers who engage in legitimate means,
through the process of negotiations, to bring about
an improvement in their terms and conditions of
work," Alleyne-Daly said.
The Police Service also provided the table above
which illustrated the number of absenteeism and
police officers reporting sick across the divisions yes-
Police Service says stations fully operational but...
Port of Spain
President of the Fire Service Association, Leo Ramkissoon, right, responds to questions during a joint press
conference with the prisons and police associations at Besson Street Police Station yesterday.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
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