Trinidad Opposition Leader: Enough evidence for PM to act on CJ

(Trinidad Guardian) Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar says there are suf­fi­cient grounds for Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley to trig­ger Sec­tion 137 im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie which could re­sult in him be­ing tried for mis­con­duct in of­fice.

This fol­lows the de­ci­sion of the Law As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber­ship to for­ward an in­ves­tiga­tive re­port to Row­ley who has the sole dis­cre­tion to de­cide if to make the rec­om­men­da­tion to Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes to ap­point a tri­bunal to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions. The PM said on Sat­ur­day that he would not be rushed in­to mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

Archie is ac­cused of lob­by­ing for hous­es from the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion for over a dozen peo­ple at the be­hest of two of his per­son­al friends, who are ac­cused of tak­ing bribes to fast-track the ap­pli­ca­tions.

Speak­ing to Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said as an at­tor­ney she had read the LATT re­port which was sent to Row­ley.

Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie

Asked what she would have done if she had re­ceived such a re­port as the Prime Min­is­ter, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said if she was the Prime Min­is­ter she would nev­er have al­lowed the sit­u­a­tion to reach where it is now.

Say­ing the scan­dal has dam­aged the in­ter­na­tion­al rep­u­ta­tion of the coun­try, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said, “A long time ago, I had said that the Prime Min­is­ter had enough to act up­on. He is not to be the judge or the ju­ry. He is not to be the pros­e­cu­tor. Let Sec­tion 137 be trig­gered and let the tri­bunal de­cide. It is not for us to de­cide.”

She not­ed that a year ago, long be­fore the Law As­so­ci­a­tion was giv­en the go-ahead to com­plete its probe in­to Archie, she had ad­vised Row­ley to trig­ger Sec­tion 137.

“When I met him pri­vate­ly a year ago, that is what I ad­vised him to do. There are suf­fi­cient grounds even with­out the Law As­so­ci­a­tion’s in­ves­tiga­tive re­port to trig­ger it and I have read the re­port. I am a lawyer and the Law As­so­ci­a­tion has put it out on their web­site and I have read the re­port and from what I have read there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to trig­ger Sec­tion 137.”

Last Au­gust, Archie chal­lenged the LATT’s right to in­ves­ti­gate him at the Unit­ed-King­dom based Privy Coun­cil. How­ev­er, that law­suit was dis­missed in a 15-page-judge­ment by five Law Lords and Archie was or­dered to pay costs.

The Law As­so­ci­a­tion con­duct­ed its probe and last Tues­day 150 mem­bers vot­ed in favour of send­ing the re­port to the Prime Min­is­ter while 32 vot­ed against it.

Since 2017, Archie has been the sub­ject of al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct which sug­gest that he used his of­fice to as­sist two con­vict­ed felons.


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