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Marcia Ayers-Caesar says her
removal as a High Court Judge is
“unlawful and unconstitution-
al” as she was put under pres-
sure to resign. Because of this,
Ayers-Caesar says her resigna-
tion letter is “of no legal effect”.
Ayers-Caesar made the state-
ments in a tell-all letter to President
Anthony Carmona dated May 19.
The Sunday Guardian was able to
obtain a copy of the letter to Car-
mona (see full letter on pages A6,
A7 & A12) and another one sent to
the Judicial and Legal Service Com-
It is the first time Ayers-Caesar’s
side of the story is being heard by
In her letter, Ayers-Caesar said
it was with a “deep sense of regret
and personal disquiet” that she had
to tell Carmona the circumstances
surrounding her resignation letter
Ayers-Caesar was this country’s
former chief magistrate.
On April 10, two days before she
was set to be appointed as a High
Court judge, Chief Justice Ivor
Archie called her and asked her if
she had any part-heard matters,
Ayers-Caesar said. Ayers-Caesar
said she was “surprised” by Archie’s
request “as I assumed that he would
know that an office holder at the lev-
el of Chief Magistrate would have
She also said it was not a “straight-
forward task to respond quickly to”
the amount of part-heard matters
On April 11 Ayers-Caesar said she
went to the Port-of-Spain Magis-
trates’ Court’s Note Taking Unit and
discovered she had 28 part-heard
matters there. She compiled a list
and sent it to Archie.
On April 12 she was sworn in as a
High Court judge by Carmona.
Ayers-Caesar said on April 25 she
was called into a meeting with Ar-
chie where acting Chief Magistrate
Maria Earle Busby-Caddle produced
a list showing that she had 52 part-
Ayers-Caesar met with Archie the
following day, April 26, and “at no
point did the Chief Justice ask me
any questions about the matters on
the revised list of 52 cases” she said.
She met with Archie again on
April 27 where he informed her that
the JLSC held an emergency meeting
and decided that she should resign
as a judge or have her appointment
“I understood the Chief Justice to
be informing me that a decision was
made and that I had no choice but
to resign,” she said.
Her resignation letter was already
prepared and a meeting with Car-
mona for her to present that letter
was already planned, she said.
Ayers-Caesar said she was “in-
consolable” when she heard this.
She, however, signed the resig-
nation letter. However, she said she
was unable to get legal advice before
she did that.
“I was distraught and I felt that
I had no real choice but to sign the
letter and accede to the resignation,”
“By now, it had been made clear to
me that my resignation had already
been orchestrated, and that this was
a done deal,” Ayers-Caesar said.
Ayers-Caesar said under the
circumstance her resignation was
a “constructive dismissal, or rather,
constructive removal from office”.
She said she was not given a
chance to respond to the JLSC’s
allegations against her.
One of those allegations levelled
against Ayers-Caesar by the JLSC
is that she dismissed 16 cases at
the Couva Magistrates’ Court on
Ayers-Caesar said she “wholly
refuted” the accusation that this
was “unusual” or the suggestion
that there was some impropriety
involved in doing this.
She asked Carmona to acknowl-
edge that her “removal from office
was unlawful and unconstitutional
and can have no legal effect”.
She said according to Section 137
of the Constitution of the Republic
of T&T a judge can only be removed
from office for misbehaviour and an
inability to perform the function of
Ayers-Caesar said she was “not
guilty of anything that could sen-
sibly be said to amount to misbe-
“I dispute the charges against
me, and I deny that I have acted in
breach of my professional duties
or in a way that calls into question
my competence to be appointed as
a judge,” she said.
She claimed that the JLSC acted in
breach of the rules of natural justice
in putting her under pressure to re-
sign and without giving her a chance
to respond to their accusations.
Former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence-Maharaj last week said
he was in consultation with Ay-
ers-Caesar and he believes that she
is in law still a High Court judge.
He did not say whether she would
be taking legal action.
Ayers-Caesar’s letter was also
forwarded to Archie and the JLSC.
Meanwhile, in the letter to the
JLSC on May 25, Ayers-Caesar
stated, “I am not aware of anything
that prohibits a High Court judge
from sitting as a magistrate, if this
is appropriate. It is on that basis
that I would be prepared, whilst
sitting and performing my duties
as a puisne judge of the High Court,
to sit, in addition, as a magistrate,
for the purpose of completing the
“I would expect that within the
next few days, if the Judicial and
Legal Services Commission agrees
with this position, that I will be
informed in writing of that agree-
CJ ARCHIE AND THE
On April 27, 2017, a statement
from Chief Justice Ivor Archie said
Marcia Ayers-Caesar “failed to man-
age the transition from the magistra-
cy to the High Court in a way which
ensured that undue hardship was not
placed on stakeholders”.
Archie also noted that Ayers-Cae-
sar “departed from established prac-
tice whereby successful candidates
ensured they have fulfilled all out-
standing professional obligations
before advising the commission of
their availability for appointment to
the High Court”.
“The Chief Justice and the JLSC
were not made aware of the full
extent of her obligation before the
Lower Court before his Excellency
fixed the date for the swearing-in of
Mrs Ayers-Caesar,” Archie said.
On May 9 the JLSC issued a state-
ment saying it felt obligated to put on
record the “factual matrix” surround-
ing the appointment and eventual
resignation of Ayers-Caesar
“It should be reiterated that Mrs
Ayers-Caesar had a professional
duty to conclude matters as far as
reasonably possible before taking up
office,” the JLSC stated.
In its statement the JLSC high-
lighted the 16 cases Ayers-Caesar
dismissed in the Couva Magistrate
and the “unusual nature of this ac-
The JLSC said that Ayers-Caesar
would “not be presiding on the mag-
isterial bench while the JLSC gives
further consideration to the several
Archie did not respond to calls and
text messages to his cell phone yes-
Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons performing
“Ethel” at the We Beat We Kaiso show,
St James Amphitheatre, Friday night.
PHOTO: DION ROACH
I was put under
pressure to resign
A man was knocked down
and killed on Friday night
while attempting to cross the
road just a short distance from
the walkover near the Pasea,
Reports are that 33-year-old
Fyard Ahmed, from Freeport,
was attempting to cross the
around 10.30 pm.
The driver of the white Ford
Ranger was heading east.
Ahmad was thrown several feet
into the air and landed on the side
of the road. He died on the scene.
The driver is assisting police
SUPERBLUE AT WE BEAT
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