Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 24th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chief Justice Ivor Archie says no breach of
the principle of the separation of powers was
committed when he consulted with Justice
Minister Emmanuel George on the drafting of
the Miscellaneous Provisions (Prisons) Bill,
which was expected to be approved in the Sen-
Opposition Senator Camille Robinson-Regis
and Independent Senators Helen Drayton and
Elton Prescott, SC, expressed concern about the
consultation after George told legislators about
the CJ's input in the legislation. The minister
also said there was consultation with the Law
Association on the bill.
Contacted for comment on Tuesday, Archie
said he had no comment but yesterday he issued
a statement, saying from time-to-time legislation
affecting the justice system is sent to the Judiciary
and other stakeholders for comment before sub-
mission to Parliament.
He said that was considered a prudent measure,
since the implementation of new legislation often
required changes in the way judicial officers
function, as well as the re-engineering of the
Judiciary's internal processes or even the alteration
of physical plant.
"Consultation reduces the risk of the passage
of unworkable legislation," he added.
Archie said as long as the Judiciary did not
dictate the form the legislation took, "consultation
breaches no principle of separation of powers."
In submitting comments to the Government
on proposed legislation, he said: "The Judiciary
is not making policy, it is commenting where
appropriate and when invited, on policies for-
mulated by the Executive and articulated in draft
He said much of the primary legislation passed
by the Parliament was unworkable without sec-
ondary legislation in the form of rules promul-
gated by the Rules Committee, which is chaired
by the Chief Justice and includes the Attorney
General and representatives of the Bar.
"The process of consultation, therefore, is also
relevant to the preparation of these rules and
continues during such preparation," CJ added.
He also explained that the Judiciary could
make and had, from time-to-time, made specific
suggestions for law reform with a view to enhanc-
ing the fair and efficient delivery of justice.
He said: "Ultimately, however, the courts are
obliged to interpret and apply what is passed by
Parliament, not what the Judiciary or any other
Commenting specifically on the Miscellaneous
Provisions (Prisons) Bill, the CJ said it addressed
the welfare and management of prisoners
detained pursuant to the orders of the court,
adding that, many people were unaware that
judges of the Supreme Court were, ex-officio,
official prison visitors.
The Judiciary, consequently, in response to an
invitation from the ministry for comments on
the legislation, indicated the considerations it
felt might be relevant to the establishment of
an Inspectorate of Prisons and Appeals Tribuna,
The CJ's comments on the bill were contained
in a letter to George in March this year.
Additionally, he said, without attempting to
say what form any such provisions should take,
it drew attention to relevant case law on com-
pulsory drug and HIV testing.
Former Chief Justice Satnarine
Sharma said it was strange, unusual
and unprecedented for a Chief Justice
to contribute to the drafting of legis-
Archie's contribution to the Miscel-
laneous Provisions (Prisons) Bill was
questioned by Independent Senators
Helen Drayton and Elton Prescott and
Opposition Senator Camille Robinson-
Regis, who asked whether the CJ's
involvement was appropriate.
"It violates the principle of inde-
pendence of the judiciary and the sep-
aration of powers," Sharma said in a
He was commenting on the revela-
tion by Justice Minister Emmanuel
George that Government had sought
the input of Chief Justice Ivor Archie
and the Law Association, before the
bill was finalised.
"I am very surprised. I don't think
it was very wise. What is he doing
assisting with legislation?" Sharma
He said he was aware that the Judi-
ciary was sometimes sent bills for com-
ment but that was done after the bill
had been drafted.
"I have never heard of anything like
this being done anywhere in the Com-
monwealth," he added.
Sharma said there was a clear conflict
"If the legislation that he assisted in
drafting comes before him he would
have to disqualify himself and needlessly
deprive himself of an important role
that he plays in adjudication. This is
the real damage," Sharma said.
Another former Chief Justice,
Michael de la Bastide, QC, had a dif-
ferent view, saying Archie's experience
may have made him quite useful.
"I do not know the form of his con-
tribution but in principle I don't see
anything wrong with his expressing
opinions based on his experience on
"His experience would equip him to
make a useful contribution to the shap-
ing of a bill of that sort," he added.
De La Bastide said he would not crit-
icise if the Government had consulted
Archie on aspects of the prison bill,
given his experience both in the court
and as a prosecutor.
Attorney Douglas Mendes, SC, said
the appropriateness of Archie's con-
tribution depended entirely on what
contribution he made.
He said: "One would have to know
what his input was before commenting.
A lot of the legislation may impact on
the rule-making function of the Judi-
ciary and speaking to him may have
been necessary but it all depends on
what was contributed."
Law Association president Seenath
Jairam SC said: "While there should
be caution, my view is that those who
have responsibility to bring forth leg-
islation, would do well to have con-
sultation with all stakeholders, including
Four days before the 24th anniversary of
the 1990 attempted coup, leader of the
Jamaat-al-Muslimeen Yasin Abu Bakr sent
out a warning to National Security Minister
and the police commissioner following a
raid at the Jamaat s Carapo mosque.
The clip, which went viral on social net-
working site Facebook, was posted at 1 pm
on Win Radio 101.1 FM Facebook page.
It was used during a newscast on Win TV
Abu Bakr was responding to arrest of 18
people at Carapo mosque on Tuesday evening,
including Life Sport co-ordinator Rajaee Ali.
"Coming into the mosque in Ramadan and
detaining people unlawfully, will not, and I
repeat will not, be accepted.
"Big man Mr Alexander, if you think that
you could do whatever you want and you not
accountable to God, Mr Commissioner of
Police, Mr Griffith, this is Abu Bakr. I am say-
ing, if you continue this transgression and ill-
will, we will respond appropriately. End of
When contacted for comment, up to press
time, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams said he could not comment as he
was yet to view the clip.
He said he instructed his Public Affairs Offi-
cer Supt Joanne Archie to provide the infor-
mation to him.
Bakr led 113 men in an attempt to overthrow
the government on July 27, 1990.
In response, the Ministry of National Secu-
rity said in a statement last night that while
there is no evidence of any threat all usual
systems remain in place that would deal with
any or all threats to public safety and security.
These measures are part of the nation's
upgraded defence mechanisms that remain
in place on an ongoing basis.
The winning number drawn yesterday on
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If your unique number found at the back
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you now have until 5 pm today to claim your
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Come to the Guardian's head office located
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your prize will be done "live" on Crime Watch
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For more information please call 623 8870
ext. 2383, Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 4 pm.
CJ on prison law:
No breach of principle
Read! Watch! Ca$h! jackpot at $7,500
Commanding Officer Colonel Rodney Smart greets a resident of Laventille during Regiment 52nd
anniversary celebration at the Our Lady of Laventille, Marian Shrine, Upper Picton Road,
Laventille yesterday. PHOTO:ABRAHAM DIAZ
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