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Invoke Section 137 now!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Dr Rowley-led Government has earned the record that it has consistently failed to act on national issues. Just as US President Donald Trump touted the Mexico Border Wall, the PNM Government has continued to tout the “Great Wall of China” around the Judiciary. This is proving disastrous for the integrity and confidence in the Judiciary.

At the time of writing, I have only seen the article “CJ confided to Thomas-Felix: Hounded for Homes” in the Trinidad Express dated March 26, 2018. This article speaks of conversation(s) between Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Industrial Court President Deborah Thomas-Felix via a series of text and/or whatsapp messages during December 2014. CJ Archie apparently vented frustrations over several persons who were conned by his convicted friend, Kern Romero who was “hounding” him for housing from the HDC.

If what is reported is in fact true, then many questions arise. What kind of “friendship” did CJ Archie have with his friend Kern Romero that would result in any person being able to “hound” him for housing? Was the head of an independent Judiciary subjected to influence of any kind as a result of his relationship with Kern Romero? Was the “hounding” limited to housing?

The discussion continues as to whether Ms Deborah Thomas-Felix was aware of these matters. If she was, and shared these types of communication(s) with the CJ, could we reasonably begin to believe that she was not aware that the CJ had named her as his “supervisor” in pursuing Labour and/or Human Rights studies? If the article of 26/03/18 is in fact true, why didn’t CJ Archie and/or Deborah Thomas-Felix make a report to the police?

Questions loom large as to exactly how much did the CJ buckle under the constant “hounding.” Next come the alleged role, if any, did a prominent lawyer play in the purported affair.

I wish to remind the Honourable Prime Minister and the Government, the Honourable Chief Justice and Her Honour Ms Deborah Thomas-Felix that these matters strike at the very heart of independence of the Judiciary and the confidence of our high Office-holders.

My recent columns referred to the perceived “blighs” which high Office-holders seemed to be extending to each other. It appeared that former President Carmona extended a “bligh” to CJ Archie while the Prime Minister and the Attorney General continuously fortified the “Great Wall of China” to the benefit of a few.

During the last few days, we have heard unconfirmed statements to the effect that the Minister of National Security is before the US Courts being accused of allegedly “defrauding” one Neville Piper, an elderly man. Up to the time of writing this column, there have been no reported decision of the matter in the media nor have there been any statement from the Prime Minister as to factual details. My take on the matter is not whether the Minister of National Security is guilty or not found guilty or pending a trial.

he issues to be addressed are whether the Minister informed the Cabinet of the particular case, and if so, to whom. Why was the Prime Minister silent on the matter, if he was in fact informed? How many times was the Minister required to fly to New York whilst he was a Minister? Did he declare such trips as being personal in nature or in the pursuance of his functions as a Minister? Who paid for any of these trips?

Were there drastic increases in the levels of crimes when the Minister was out of the country attending to his personal defence in the case before the US courts?

Since 2015, we appear to be headed down a tragic slope. Whilst some high office-holders continue to “play the fool,” ordinary citizens are experiencing severe hardships. Entitlement to a perk or “term” of Office is one thing, exercising your discretion to utilise such perks when your country is suffering is another thing.


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