Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 15th 2015 Contents A5
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
RECITING THE GAYATRI MANTRA
Pundits from the Sanathan Dharma Maha Sabha recite the Mantra Jaap while ingredients of ghee, gugul, and samaagri (rice, sugar,
etc) are constantly poured into the central fire during the annual Gayatri Jaap at the Maha Sabha headquaters,
St Agustine, on Sunday. PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
In awarding Tunapuna pillow vendor
Wayne Clarke $170,000 for malicious pros-
ecution, justice Frank Seepersad said errant
police officers should be made to pay for
damages they cost the State.
"Errant officers who abuse their authority
should be made personally liable for the
damages awarded due to their unauthorised
and unlawful conduct," Seepersad said as
he chastised the police for the wrongful
arrest of Clarke, who spent 13 days in jail
before he could access bail on a charge of
insulting language in 2012.
Seepersad said the matter had caused
extreme disquiet in the mind of the court
as it was an example of a gross abuse of
He warned that police officers were not
a law unto themselves and cannot allow
their personal hurt to affect the discharge
of their duty. He said there were too many
instances where any challenge to an officer's
authority was met with obscene or annoying
language and resisting arrest charges.
The court awarded Clarke $140,000 as
general damages and $30,000 as exemplary
damages, and the State was ordered to pay
cost in the matter. The case stemmed from
a July 2012 incident when Clarke, 56, of
Tunapuna, was accused of selling pillows
on the pavement of Tunapuna in July 2012
by WPC Thomas-Hernandez.
He was brought before the Tunapuna
Magistrate's Court where he was charged
with, exposing for sale, goods and same
that were projected over a footpath, contrary
to Section 64(1) (d) of the Summary
Offences Act. He was also charged with
willfully obstructing the free passageway
of the street without lawful authority or
excuse, contrary to Section 50 (1) of the
Clarke pleaded guilty to the first offence
but denied the second. The sitting mag-
istrates ordered that 22 confiscated pillows
be donated to the Cyril Ross Children's
Home. Clarke claimed that some time later,
he visited the home to ensure the pillows
were delivered but learned that they had
only received 11.
On April 24, 2012, he reported to the
Tunapuna Police Station that the magis-
trate's order was not obeyed and half the
pillows were missing.
Six days later, while leaving the Tunapuna
Administrative Complex, he claimed that
Thomas-Hernandez approached him and
in an intimidating and angry tone, said "oh
so you calling me a thief, well you under
arrest. He was charged with using insulting
language to the annoyance of persons con-
trary to Section 49 of the Summary Courts
When he appeared before a Tunapuna
magistrate on June 1, 2012, he was granted
$10,000 bail but was remanded in custody
for 13 days. On the November 19 trial date,
Thomas-Hernandez failed to show, leading
the case being dismissed for want of pros-
ecution. In his malicious arrest suit, Clarke
claimed that he suffered inconvenience,
distress, loss and damage.
The State denied the claims and argued
that the magistrate had ordered that the pil-
lows be taken to two homes: The Cyril Ross
Children's Home and St Finbar's Home.
However, Thomas-Hernandez was unable
to deliver the pillows to St Finbar's Home
in Diego Martin and instead gave it to the
St Margaret's Children's Home in Malabar.
The defence also charged that it was Clarke
who shouted at Thomas-Hernandez in a
loud and aggressive voice that "you is a
pillow thief. Allyuh police does thief too
much." The defendant and another officer
arrested Clarke and took him the station
where he was later charged.
With the court accepting Clarke's case in
its entirety, Seepersad said described the
matter as an abuse of office, warning that
police officers were not above the law. He
said the ethos of the police service has to
evolve and the service has to be radically
transformed to attract the highest calibre of
For this to happened, he said the renu-
meration and conditions of employment
have to be revisited and a no tolerance
approach be adopted against errant officers.
"The nation depends on the police to
implement the law, to protect and to serve.
When, as in this case, an officer acts out of
malice and abuses the power of the office
by instituting a matter without merit, the
public's confidence in the administration of
justice is severely compromised. If the citizens
have no faith and respect in the police then
lawlessness will prevail.
"It is a travesty that taxpayers' money,
money which should be spent on infrastruc-
ture, health and education, has to be spent
on satisfying court judgments when the
process of the much needed reform of the
police service is being considered," Seepersad
Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran will
likely challenge any unjustified move against
him, it was confirmed yesterday
And at least one big business enterprise ---
Massy --- which was threatening legal action on
Rambarran's recent revelations about T&T's mega
Forex users, is on hold, clearly awaiting action
from Government on Rambarran.
Expectation of moves against the governor
have been developing following last weekend's
scathing statements by Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley on Rambarran's modus operandi.
Rambarran had been negatively spotlighted on
the Forex shortage issue and for announcing a
recession without telling Government first. The
situation was further inflamed after he revealed
who was consuming the most Forex in T&T, par-
ticularly big businesses. Reaction came in the
form of several businesses' complaint to Finance
Minister Colm Imbert, alleging Rambarran "may
have been in breach of the Central Bank Act".
T&T's Chamber of Commerce expressed similar
sentiments. Imbert advised his legal team to
examine whether there was indeed a breach.
Government has been stockpiling legal advice
on the situation. Imbert last week updated Cabinet
on advice received. Cabinet reportedly sought
advice on whether Rambarran's revelations con-
stituted "misconduct in relation to his duties."
The Central Bank Act (section 12) outlines ten
grounds that can be used to terminate the
appointment of a Governor, deputy Governor or
director. Section 12 (e), allows the President to
terminate appointments if the person is "guilty
of misconduct in relation to his duties."
It was reported Cabinet also sought legal advice
on whether the President has the discretion to
reject, modify or delay a Cabinet directive on the
governor's termination. Cabinet was advised the
convention is that heads of state obey the wishes
of the Government of the day.
Following last week's Cabinet meeting where
the issue was discussed, Rowley, last Saturday,
said the situation was diminishing public con-
fidence in the Bank's ability to conduct the public's
business in finance and diminishing public con-
fidence in Rambarran. He added if the Govern-
ment allows this to continue unimpeded, it will
diminish the population's confidence in the Gov-
Rowley noted laws governing conduct of Central
Bank affairs and that Imbert was examining if
Rambarran breached that. He said if Rambarran
"ends up" being removed, it would be because
of his "own series of reckless, illegal actions."
Government has subsequently been mum on
if it can work with Rambarran or is prepared to
Yesterday, Central Bank communication officer
Charlene Ramdhanie had no comment when the
T&T Guardian asked about Rambarran's response
to Rowley's statement, whether he was receiving
legal advice on the matter and other aspects.
Amid businesses' complaints, Massy president
Gervais Warner, had claimed Rambarran's dis-
closure, was a breach of confidentiality and added
they were exploring legal options in the matter.
He said the company s legal advisers found Ram-
barran "really shouldn't have disclosed the infor-
mation. Warner claimed some parts of Central
Bank law was breached and he would "sit back
and wait to see what officials do about this."
Yesterday after the T&T Guardian contacted
Warner's office on whether Massy was proceeding
with legal options, spokesperson Candice Ali
replied via email," Mr Warner has confirmed that
at this time Massy will not be discussing the
Judge wants errant cops to pay damages...
Vendor gets $170,000
for wrongful arrest
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