Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, July 21, 2017
Using Section 137
of the Constitution to
invoke a tribunal to in-
vestigate the Marcia
Ayers- Caesar issue and
remove the Chief Justice
won't resolve the issue of
the 53 cases left incom-
plete, says Law Associ-
ation president Douglas
The cases will still have to
be dealt with by those pre-
siding over them, he added
in an interview.
"It's either they contin-
ue where they left off, if
possible and fair, or if not
start over again. Section
137 won't solve the prob-
lem of the cases. They're
outstanding and have to be
Section 137 (4) of the
Constitution states: "Where
the question of removing a
judge from office has been
referred to a tribunal under
sub-section (3), the Presi-
dent, acting in accordance
with the advice of the Prime
Minister in the case of the
Chief Justice, or the Chief
Justice in the case of a
judge other than the Chief
Justice, may suspend the
judge from performing the
functions of his office, and
any such suspension may at
any time be revoked by the
President, acting in accord-
ance with the advice of the
Prime Minister, in the case
of the Chief Justice, or the
Chief Justice in the case of
a judge other than the Chief
Justice, and shall in any case
cease to have effect."
Opposition senator Ger-
ald Ramdeen is still in favour
of a tribunal.
"This tribunalwill answer
all queries in this---what
took place regarding Ay-
etc. The direction forward
for the 53 cases will fall into
place as a result of the clar-
But Mendes said the
ciary and members of the
bar representing the clients
in relation to each case---
would have to decide how
to go forward. Courts go
on vacation at month-end.
On the Opposition's tri-
bunal call, Attorney General
Faris Al-Rawi said proposed
litigation on the matter
from Ayers-Caesar's attor-
ney---who recently issued a
pre-action protocol letter---
will provide full disclosure
on the matter. "Details will
have to come out as the
matter traverses the courts."
Analyst says PM, Kamla can't claim
success after meeting as...
still not settled
Neither Prime Min-
ister Dr Keith Rowley
nor Opposition leader
sar can claim success
in their talks on Tues-
day because the most
critical issue on the ta-
ble--- the crisis relating
to the Judiciary and the
Judicial and Legal Ser-
vice Commission--- was not settled.
That's the view of head of the Political Sciences
Department at the University of the West Indies St
Augustine campus, Dr Bishnu Ragoonath.
He said the failure to come to a resolution on the
issue of the 53 part heard matters in the judicial system
"remains a critical issue and until that is settled neither
one can claim any success because that was perhaps
the most critical issue to be dealt with."
Ragoonath believes the meeting ended with no "real
success," because the two had discussions on a num-
ber of issues "but there is nothing concrete coming
out of it."
He said they talked about "campaign finance reform,
Tobago, the opening of the Couva Hospital, there was
nothing firm on the Service Commissions, so while it
is good they had some degree of conversation there
were no concrete solutions."
He is suggesting that the two leaders "need to come
together again with firm proposals for them to discuss
and take to their respective parties. But as it is now
we don't know where we going."
Another analyst/lecturer, Dr Hamid Ghany, said he
was "quite impressed with the civility of the engage-
ment," which he said was "in stark contrast to the be-
haviour between the Government and the Opposition
in the last two years. It was a refreshing civility," he said.
Ghany said he "sensed there was a clear difference
of opinion" on the issue of the Judiciary and there ap-
peared to be "no room for compromise," on the issue,
with the opposition leader holding out the position
that section 137 of the Constitution be invoked. That
section speaks to a Tribunal.
But he felt discussions on some of the other issues
on the table should not be ignored.
Ghany is of the view that the Prime Minister brought
the issue of campaign finance reform to the table
"because of the pressure he is feeling from financi-
ers pressing him to follow policies which are causing
fallout with the trade unions with whom he signed an
Memorandum of Understanding in 2015."
The relationship between the unions and the PNM
now he said is "on shaky ground and he sees campaign
finance reform as a way to liberate him from the con-
trols of the financiers." The timeline set for addressing
this issue was before the next general election.
He said on the issue of Tobago, the Prime Minister
"recognises he must deliver something for Tobago
quickly given their solid electoral support for the
PNM in September 2015 and again in January 2017. "
He said in the past two years the Government's
treatment of Tobago had been " less than stellar and
the Prime Minister realises he had to do something
because the treatment of Tobagonians on the air and
sea bridge had reached a boiling point of frustration."
The Prime Minister, he said, also sent an important
signal when he indicated he intended to get cooper-
ation from the opposition on legislation, "that is at
odds with the position of the Attorney General some
months ago that he will ignore the Opposition and
pass legislation with a simple majority. Dr Rowley's
reaching out to the Opposition is in stark contrast to
the AG's position," but he said the real test will come
"when the rubber hits the road and the legislative
agenda kicks in.
Ghany, however, felt that the "civility in the en-
gagement sent a very positive signal."
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