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Unsuitable applications will not be
pressured to resign?
Former chief magistrate Marcia Ay-
ers-Caesar may have been pressured to
resign as a High Court judge. Her attor-
ney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj revealed
that her resignation letter was prepared
for her by officials at the Hall of Justice.
In a media conference at his San Fernando
law chambers yesterday, Maharaj said all
Ayers-Caesar had to do was sign the letter.
He said based on the Constitution, a judge
could only be removed through a genuine
letter of resignation or the findings of the
tribunal appointed by the President. Saying
that procedure was not followed, it meant
that the actions of the Judicial and Legal Ser-
vices Commission (JLSC), chaired by Chief
Justice Ivor Archie, were null and void and
Ayers-Caesar remains a judge.
Maharaj said another question arises:
“Whether a letter of resignation of the
judge, prepared by officials at the Hall of
Justice for her signature and signed in the
Hall of Justice by the judge, could have any
legal effect having regard to the facts and
the circumstances of this matter. Could the
JLSC by virtue of this letter have purportedly
removed the judge?”
He said following public statements made
by the JLSC over Ayers-Caesar’s appoint-
ment and subsequent removal as a judge,
she had consulted with him.
He called on the JLSC to reconsider their
action as the letter of resignation has no le-
gal effect. He said if the JLSC does not take
steps to allow Ayers-Caesar to continue as
a judge, she can challenge that decision and
seek compensation from the State as has
been done before. If Ayers-Caesar decides
to challenge the State, he said he would un-
dertake that responsibility and is prepared
to take it to the Privy Council to prove that
her rights were violated. Although Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that the
Government would not get involved in the
débâcle, Maharaj said if he was an attorney
general, he would have written to Archie,
asking him to reconsider the JLSC’s stance.
On April 12, Ayers-Caesar, Kevin Ram-
charan and Avason Quinlan-Williams took
oath as judges from President Anthony
Carmona. During that ceremony, Archie
defended the process used by the JLSC for
the selection and appointment of judges,
saying that it was “one of the most rigorous
selection processes you can find anywhere
in the region or Commonwealth”.
Archie said, “Every candidate would
have been subjected to a rigorous process.
I am surprised that some of them have not
changed their minds halfway due to the
torture we put them through.”
Days later, the Law Association expressed
concern about Ayers-Caesar’s appointment
as she had left numerous outstanding mat-
ters in the Magistrate’s Court, which would
have to be restarted by another magistrate.
In defending the JLSC’s decision to appoint
Ayers-Caesar, Archie said she had failed to
advise the commission on how many out-
standing cases she had.
However, Maharaj said that as the Chief
Justice, Archie also heads the administrative
arm of the Judiciary. Therefore, he has access
to the information on pending cases before
every magistrate and judge.
“The JLSC, therefore, would have had ac-
cess to all of the data regarding the outstand-
ing work of the Chief Magistrate before the
JLSC appointed the Chief Magistrate a judge.
Further, it is a well established principle of
public law that the JLSC as a public authority
has a duty to fully and sufficiently acquaint
itself with the relevant information to the
decision it intends to make in appointing
the judge...The JLSC cannot properly and in
law blame a judicial appointee for not doing
its duty to acquire relevant information in
respect of a decision it intends to take.”
But even if Ayers-Caesar had numerous
incomplete cases in the Magistrate’s Court,
Maharaj said there was nothing in law to
prevent her from completing those matters.
He said a judge holds a higher position in the
judiciary, meaning that Ayers-Caesar would
have had a higher jurisdiction to complete
any outstanding matter.
He said that the JLSC’s press release on
March 22, which mentioned several cases
that Ayers-Caesar had dismissed, was not
relevant to the issues and could have prej-
udiced the minds of the public against her.
He said it was not uncommon for matters
to be dismissed for want of prosecution or
an abuse of process.
He added that the JLSC had not even
conducted an investigation into the cases,
therefore it was not in a position to make a
Lutchmeesingh says sorry for highway traffic jam
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
Lutchmeesingh’s Transport and Con-
tractors Limited has issued an adver-
tisement apologising to commuters and
Minister of Works and Transport Rohan
Sinanan for a traffic delay on Thursday
as a result of ongoing construction on
The unauthorised works created massive
congestion for hours.
The contracting firm said though other
factors contributed to the delay, “we feel
obliged given that we inadvertently con-
tributed to the traffic jam”.
Sinanan has since called for a report on
the matter as work was supposed to be con-
ducted only on weekends.
The ad stated that due to unforeseen cir-
cumstances and in an effort to meet dead-
lines, work that should have been completed
at 4 am, ended at 5 am instead.
“As we proceeded to demobilise our
equipment, the police, in their judgment
and in the interest of safety, kept traffic
in single lane up to 4.30 am and at 6 am,
opened all three lanes.”
It added that there was an incident in-
volving a motorist and law enforcement
officers within the same time and that was
also a contributing factor.
“We wish to thank the police for their
co-operation and understanding. Our
deepest apologies to the Minister of Works
and Transport and most sincerely, to the
is a vocation
In their Mother’s Day message, President
Anthony Carmona and his wife, Reema, say
motherhood is a vocation that cradles human-
ity. “A mother’s job has no time off. The impact
of a mother’s love and care is immeasurable
in action and inspiration and must not and
cannot be viewed lightly.”
A statement from the Office of the President
stated, “There is nothing greater than a mother’s
love and a mother’s positive influence. The role of
the mother is undeniable and indispensable and is
critical to the human and social development of any
progressive society. A mother’s love is all embracing
and is often what makes the real difference in all
our lives. She is the quintessential first teacher.
Simply put, she points the way.”
The Carmonas said they were honoured, fortu-
nate and blessed to have their mothers with them
on such a special day.
They said Mother’s Day celebrates mothers,
mother figures and caregivers who assume the
role of mother.
“It is imperative that we in Trinidad and Tobago
and the rest of the Caribbean region, continue to
ensure that a mother’s impacting role in the soci-
eties never diminishes.
“We can safeguard this, by ensuring that genuine
female empowerment is encouraged and supported
by everyone in all sectors of our society. We must
encourage our women to walk side by side with
their male counterparts.
“We seek the support and solidarity of our fathers
to actually and metaphorically walk hand in hand
with our mothers to create good and great citizens
of this country.”
(See People section, Pages A21 to A24)
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Ramesh says resignation letter prepared by officials at Hall of Justice
President Anthony Carmona and wife Reema.
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