Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 3rd 2017 Contents news A5
Saturday, June 3, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Educational Facilities Company
Limited chairman Arnold Piggott has
tendered his resignation, saying he
was doing so for the "protection of my
reputation and family name" and pro-
tecting of the ruling People's National
In his resignation letter dated May 27 to
Education Minister Anthony Garcia and
copied to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Row-
ley and Corporation Sole Finance Minister
Colm Imbert, Piggott said he was resign-
ing "due to family commitments requiring
greater attention at home and abroad."
His resignation was effective yesterday
He said while he had the privilege to work
closely with "a diligent, dedicated and pro-
fessional team of board members," they had
gone through many challenges, including
Piggott said he was leaving the company,
which had oversight for building and repair-
ing the nation's schools, with "a great sense
of satisfaction," which came from "having
facilitated improvements to the school in-
frastructure for teaching and learning."
Piggott's resignation, however, comes at
a time when questions are swirling in the
public domain about the goings on at the
company he chaired. Attorney General Faris
Al-Rawi confirmed in Parliament this week
that based on allegations of irregularities
raised in the public, he approached the PM
and Education Minister and after those dis-
cussions called an emergency meeting of
the EFCL board.
After that meeting a central audit com-
mittee was put in place to get answers to al-
legations raised. The T&T Guardian under-
stands the PM was "extremely concerned"
about what was in the public domain about
what was happening at the EFCL.
Piggott was named chairman in October
2015 ,shortly after the PNM won the Sep-
tember General Election.
He said he was proud that schools had
opened on time for the five consecutive
terms he was at the helm. But he said he
said his "resolve and commitment remain
strong for this PNM Dr Rowley-led admin-
Piggott was this country's high commis-
sioner to Canada under the Patrick Manning
administration and also served as minister
Although the Government could give no
indication on how long the investigation will
take, Education Minister Anthony Garcia
yesterday told the T&T Guardian he hopes
that "it will be completed swiftly and the
company can operate at its full potential."
Efforts to contact Piggott were unsuc-
cessful as calls to his mobile phone went
unanswered. But in his letter he thanked
Garcia for "the amiable consideration and
collaboration" during his stewardship.
JLSC must go now
Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bis-
sessar says Chief Justice Ivor Archie and
the Judicial and Legal Services Commis-
sion (JLSC) should resign immediately
in the interest of the country and the
"The CJ should put the country first;
should put the justice system first," Per-
sad-Bissessar stressed in an interview
during the tea break at yesterday's House
of Representatives sitting at International
Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.
She insisted: "This is a case where I believe
the interest of the majority, the interest of
the country and the interest of the justice
system outweigh whatever disadvantages
may accrue to the CJ in these circumstances."
Persad-Bissessar's comments were made
in the wake of Thursday's Law Association's
vote of no confidence in Archie and other
JLSC members over their handling of the
short-lived appointment of former chief
magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a judge.
Ayers-Caesar resigned within a few weeks
after it was revealed she did not complete
53 part-heard matters before her departure
from the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court.
Persad-Bissessar said the vote was "a
landmark decision in T&T. There has never
been anything like this before."
Joining the increasing list of people calling
for Archie to resign, she said the vote "shows
that persons who hold high office must be
transparent and accountable."
"It is a very sad state of affairs for the
administration of justice in T&T, as the CJ
has this major cloud hanging over his head
with respect to presiding over the justice
system," she said.
She said there was constitutional provi-
sion where Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
could initiate proceedings for the removal
of a chief justice.
"There are those who suggested that we
can avoid all the further entanglements and
trauma the country may (have) to go through,
should it reach to the point where a tribunal
is established or proceedings are taken to
remove the CJ from office and so some are
suggesting that he should do the right thing
of his own volition and resign," she said.
"The JLSC and the CJ have a lot to an-
swer for in this whole impasse that has
She said she had "never seen lawyers so
agitated, aggressive and so determined by
their action to show their displeasure and
disgust as to what has been happening."
She said the country's image was being
severely affected internationally and even
nationally by the sequence of events in the
"It is a very sad and tragic day for us in
T&T. It is really something that is out of
the ordinary, extraordinary and places us
internationally in a very bad light but even
locally now," Persad-Bissessar, a former
prime minister, said.
She said if lawyers had no confidence in
the Judiciary "how would an ordinary man
going before that court feel? Would they
have confidence in getting justice and the
answer is simply no."
According to Persad-Bissessar, the CJ's
handling of the matter fractured the "rule
of law and of the constitutional democracy
in T&T (and) we have no place to go but get
She then suggested Archie and JLSC
"may want to consider whether they should
prevent the country going through further
trauma in this matter by doing the honour-
able thing and resign now, save the country
from further fracture, further trauma and
do it now."
Persad-Bissessar, also an attorney for
several years, said she was also surprised
by the turnout at the Law Association's
meeting and what was revealed during the
"There is a severe distrust and lack of con-
fidence in the CJ. There was cross-section
of lawyers, it wasn't UNC or PNM lawyers,
there were lawyers from everywhere and it
was an amazing development we are wit-
She said the matter will also not end qui-
"This is not going to pass and will continue
to haemorrhage, continue to further damage
the administration of justice and the justice
system in T&T."
Less than 24 hours after the Law Association
passed a no confidence motion against it, the
Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC)
came under fire yet again, this time from a
High Court judge.
Justice Carol Gobin yesterday criticised JLSC
members as a lawsuit against it filed by Opposi-
tion Senator Wayne Sturge, seeking disclosure of
details surrounding three controversial judicial
appointments, came up for hearing in the Port-
of-Spain High Court.
Sturge filed the lawsuit last month after the JLSC
failed to respond to his requests under the Free-
dom of Information Act, for details of the selection
process used for the appointments of former chief
magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, magistrate Avason
Quinlan-Williams and attorney Kevin Ramcharan
as High Court judges in April.
Gobin's comments yesterday came after the
JLSC's lawyer, Ian Roach, appeared at the hearing,
sought to apologise for the delay in the response
and answered nine of 12 questions raised by Sturge.
"It is regretted that a response was not forth-
coming before now, but this was due to a number
of unfortunate events which militated the JLSC
from doing so," Roach said in a letter given to the
court. Gobin did not appear satisfied with Roach's
response or explanation.
"We judges are servants of this body with the
responsibility to be dealing with these things (ap-
pointment of judges). Is it that they are not bother-
ing to answer? Why should we extend further time?
Is it that they ignored the letter?" Gobin asked.
The matter was eventually adjourned by Gobin
to next Friday.
In his letter responding to Sturge's questions,
Roach said the four JLSC members who set and
marked the exam were Chief Justice Ivor Archie,
retired judges Roger Hamel-Smith and Humphrey
Stollmeyer and acting chair of the Public Service
Commission (PSC) Parvatee Anmolsingh-Mahabir.
Responding to questions over the psychometric
testing done on applicants who passed the exam,
Roach said it was not a criteria for selection but
rather a tool to determine an applicant's suitabili-
ty. He admitted that the testing was not contained
in a legal notice for the selection of judges, but had
been used for the selection of an Appeal Court judge
previously. The questions that were not answered
was a request for a copy of the test, a list of the
applicants and the marks they scored on the exam.
..they must put country, justice system first
EFCL chairman Arnold Piggott
Piggott quits EFCL
Judge raps JLSC
for stalling on
Oppositin Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Links Archive June 2nd 2017 June 4th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page