This letter is intended to augment and not to be considered in contradiction of or confrontation with the views expressed by learned Senior Counsel and former Speaker, Ralph Ramkarran, with respect to the current snafu in the appointment of judges. In the same manner that a president is declared to be the supreme executive authority upon his election to that office, the constitution also declares itself as our supreme law. In this respect, any act or conduct inconsistent with it is unconstitutional, void, null and unlawful.
Speaking for myself, I was invited to join the bench of the Court of Appeal and received a notice to attend the Office of the President to subscribe to the oath of office. No application was made by me. I am advised by Justice Ian Neville Chang, who demitted office upon retirement while performing the functions of Chief Justice, all in accordance with the constitution, that he never applied to join the bench of the Court of Appeal. My recollection is that both JOF Haynes and RH Luckhoo, upon the latter’s preferment to the Inner Bar, were so invited by the Chancellor. Some of us find it demeaning and lacking in decorum to make applications for certain offices. Equally, to some of us, conventions peculiar to our hitherto acknowledged noble profession, must be honoured, barring unforeseen exceptions.
Perhaps, those in charge and control of the established process should take the bull by the horns and lead by way of advice, those unfamiliar with the system. I am a great believer in the adage that there are those among us who know and those who think they know!
Therein lies the problem, and it is evident from the reports in the media that a major portion of the appointees to the magisterial bench come ill-equipped to dispense justice in the conventional and authorised manner. One of my fellow retirees has reminded me, “Lil boy ah wan do big man wuk”. Under the Interpretation and General Clauses Act, the masculine includes the feminine and the singular includes the plural.
Before subscribing to the oath of my current office, unsolicited once again, I declined the position of Ombudsman owing to its limited oversight jurisdiction compared with the former.
Justice Charles R Ramson
Commissioner of Information