Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 14th 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, December 14, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Law Association president
Seenath Jairam says judges are
not the run-of-the-mill execu-
tives and he is totally against
any comparison of them with
the society at large.
Jairam was responding yester-
day to questions from the T&T
Guardian on High Court judge
Carol Gobin s suggestion that the
salaries of judges who were tardy
in delivering judgments within
six months of the conclusion of
a case should be withheld.
Gobin, saying she was com-
menting in her personal capacity,
made the recommendation to
the National Constitution Reform
Commission and also called for
more openness and discussion
concerning the appointment of
prospective judges and for records
of judgments delivered to be pub-
Her recommendations come
amidst claims from judicial
sources that there is an orches-
trated plot of remove Chief Justice
Ivor Archie from office. The
debate raged after convicted killer
Lester Pitman wrote to the judi-
ciary seeking to have Archie
impeached on the ground that
he had failed to deliver judgment
in Pitman s case for four years.
Social activist Diana Mahabir-
Wyatt asked to comment on the
statement by another newspaper,
said she agreed because, for
example, the average worker gets
his end-of-year bonus based on
his performance. She asked why
judges should be different.
But Jairam argued that judges
are not ordinary workers.
"Judges are required to make
a lot of personal sacrifices, with-
drawing from many friends and
the society generally, giving up
a significant part of their social
lives, restriction on their move-
ments, limiting their social circle,
living a virtual hermit-like
"This is so because our society
is relatively small and the per-
ception of fairness cannot be seen
to be contaminated or compro-
Jairam, however, agreed with
Gobin that the judiciary needed
to be more open, accountable,
transparent and efficient.
"Maybe the time has come for
the appointment of more crim-
inal judges, appellate judges, and
possibly a Master of the Rolls, or
He said judges needed time
off to write judgments and a peri-
od of six months should be the
upper limit to deliver reserved
judgments and only in the most
The JLSC, he added, should
be given express powers to deal
with errant judges and the com-
position of the commission need-
ed to be changed. Jairam said he
felt it was healthy that the con-
versation concerning judges and
the speedy delivery of judgments
had started, but was afraid there
was no simple solution. He iden-
tified experience, or lack thereof,
as a possible problem.
Jairam said 36 years at the Bar
had taught him that experience
was the life of the law and, unfor-
tunately, the judiciary did not
attract the most experienced
He added, though, "We have
many good judicial officers who
are hardworking and well
respected and it is unfair to them
to be tarred with the popular
brush of delay."
Former Police Service Com-
mission chairman and JLSC
member Kenneth Lalla said the
judiciary is, according to the Con-
stitution, an independent body,
but it does form part of the State
and, therefore, has a responsibility
to the State.
At the same time, complaints
about the judiciary and punitive
measures against members
should be directed at the Judicial
and Legal Service Commission
"Moreover, the judiciary is not
a law unto itself and since the
people constitute the State, they
are entitled to a system that is
swift, efficacious and fair."
Lalla felt withholding judges
salaries for not delivering judg-
ments on time was not the way
remedies and sanctions ought to
be applied, however.
Asked specifically what state
the judiciary was in, he replied,
"The chaotic situation in which
it is at the moment.
"Justice delayed is justice
denied and, in any event, the
Chief Justice ought to direct his
concerns over the proliferation
of cases and inadequate mech-
anisms to deal more efficiently
with them with the powers that
be."Lalla said complaints or dis-
satisfaction with the performance
of the CJ should be raised in the
appropriate quarters, like Parlia-
ment, the JLSC and even the
He noted that the Pitman
matter currently before the court
precipitated the present situa-
"At least somebody raised the
issue and it has been engaging
the attention of the citizenry.
Former attorney general
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said
he supported action on the ques-
tion of the delivery of judgments,
but did not believe the matter
should be used as a political tool
to run Archie out of office.
"He alone is not responsible
for the delivery of cases. It s the
whole system that has to change.
There should be rules for judges
to deliver cases within a certain
time frame," he said.
Jairam on judiciary furore:
Oliver Flax, who was con-
sidered one of T&T s leading
public relations professionals,
died peacefully in his sleep on
Thursday night at the San Fer-
nando General Hospital.
Flax, 69, of San Fernando,
died around 10.37 pm, his son
Warren confirmed yesterday,
adding that his father had been
ailing for some time with
(MDS), a blood disorder.
Flax was a PR manager at
Trintoc and Petrotrin and went
on to work at TSTT and UTT.
He was also a former executive
of the South Chamber of Indus-
try and Commerce.
Yesterday, Petrotrin president
Khalid Hassanali, speaking in a
telephone interview, said he was
"deeply saddened" to learn of
Flax s death. He said he and Flax
collaborated well during Flax s
tenure at the state oil company
when they handled negotiations
with the Oilfields Workers Trade
Hassanali said Flax spent a
number of years in the human
resource management field and
"was very knowledgeable on the
marine and on land environ-
San Fernando Business Asso-
ciation (SBA) president Daphne
Bartlett said she knew Flax from
his work with the chamber and
"We recognise his contribu-
tion to the oil industry and the
South Chamber and of course
the southern community and
the country at large.
Flax leaves to mourn his wife
Diane and children Warren and
Flax and his wife would have
celebrated their 44th anniversary
today. Funeral arrangements are
yet to be finalised. (RR)
Oliver Flax dies at 69
Tests done by the
have confirmed that the
cocaine-laced bottle of
Pear-D linked to a death
in England was not
exported to the UK by
local manufacturer SM
Jaleel & Co Ltd.
The Hampshire police,
in a release on their Web
site, said tests on the toxic
bottle had "now estab-
lished that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear-D fruit
drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the
company did not export this drink to the UK."
According to the release, the police received
laboratory test results which showed the bottle
contained a lethal amount of cocaine.
On Thursday, the UK Food Standards Agency
(FSA) issued a recall of Cole Cold Pear-D.
After the UK alert, SM Jaleel, of Otaheite, vol-
untarily recalled the drink from the batch con-
taining the best-before code, "BB JAN 08 14," as
a precautionary measure.
Royal Navy veteran Joromie Lewis died on
December 5 after drinking from the bottle. Lewis,
33, of Gosport, originally from St Vincent and the
Grenadines, drank the cocaine-laced Pear-D and
died within hours at Southampton General Hos-
Yesterday, calls to Police Crime Commissioner
for Hampshire Simon Hayes and his press officer
Susan Rolling for a comment on the situation
The constabulary release also said a multi-
agency taskforce, headed by Detective Supt Richard
Pearson, has been set up to investigate how the
cocaine-laced drink made it into the UK. The
police investigation has been named Operation
Lewis s death has been widely reported across
the United Kingdom. Major newspapers, including
the Daily Mail and the UK Guardian, highlighted
Lewis s death and the FSA s alert.
Spiked bottle an isolated incident
Pearson was reported in the UK media as saying,
"Enquiries to date have not identified any further
incidents or similar bottles. The investigation sug-
gests that this was likely to be a rogue bottle from
a consignment of drugs stored in plastic juice bot-
Yesterday, an FSA spokesman at the FSA head-
quarters in London, speaking with the T&T
Guardian by telephone, also said, "At this stage
it would appear to be an isolated incident."
The spokesman, who declined to have his name
published, said the alert was issued on Thursday
after the Hampshire police notified the FSA f of
Lewis s death. To date, he said, no more bottles
of the Pear-Drink had been seized.
The spokesman said the FSA does not believe
the contaminated drink was widely available, since
there have been no other cases.
"We do not have evidence that there has been
wide distribution in the UK or (Southampton).
We do not have any evidence of any further dis-
tribution at the moment.
"So really, it was a case of putting an alert out
so our local authority enforcement officers just
can check retailers," he said.
The spokesman said all information on the recall
was released in its alert on Thursday and was the
most up-to-date information.
say UK cops
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