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Judiciary sinks

Part 2
Saturday, March 17, 2018

Just as the Galleons Passage set sail last week on its voyage from China to Port-of-Spain, it had to dock at a nearby port called Yokohama. Whilst berthed, the crew is ensuring that additional fuel is loaded along with provisions yam, cassava, blue metal dasheen, sweet potato, saltfish, smoke herring and “rainbow corn-beef.” After all, this voyage may last six months should we choose destination Washington DC, or 35 weeks should we simply set sail to a destination of any pavement in Trinidad.

We dare not berth in Tobago as there is a lynch mob waiting there to crucify any ship which it perceives to have come from “Calcutta.” Cut and run would not be an easy option.

At this time the captain of the ship seems to have gotten his instructions wrong. Whilst on the voyage, he is expected to take a sabbatical in Honolulu, Hawaii, to study industrial relations. There is absolutely no correlation between industrial relations and his career as a skipper but apparently industrial relations is intimately linked with elements of human rights, a key component to ensuring that the crew remains free from scurvy. 

In the meantime, crewmen appear to be griping over the perception that high office holders are in the habit of giving each other “blighs.” The President who once partook of Housing Allowances (costing taxpayers dollars) whilst being accommodated in upscale housing at Flagstaff Hill, appears to be giving his “judicial” brother a “bligh” by allowing him sabbatical leave. None other than the Chief Justice is engaging in “study leave,” which it is still unclear at what cost to tax payers.

Apparently, the Chief Justice stated as a precursor to his proposed Fellowship Sabbatical Studies, that his course director/facilitator would be the Industrial Court President, Deborah Thomas-Felix. According to Martin Daly SC, it appears, however, that Ms Thomas-Felix may not have given her approval to be the CJ’s “supervisor” during his Fellowship. Coincidentally, CJ Archie recently said that if ever Ms Thomas-Felix is considered for the position of first female Chief Justice, he “will give more than proxy to have her” (See Trinidad Express, April 19, 2017).

Dr Leighton Jackson, Dean of the Faculty of Law at UWI, Mona Campus, who has been retained on numerous occasions by CJ Archie and Her Honour Deborah Thomas-Felix to deliver speeches, judicial training etc, to the Judiciary and the Industrial Court, respectively has said to the people of T&T that we need to “move on”, “…we need to get along and not make an issue out of something…”, “…we need to stop the noise and quarrelling; we all make mistakes and we are all human. Let’s all move on…” (See Trinidad Express, March 9, 2018).
Is it as simple as moving on without proper accountability, especially when taxpayers are footing the bills? With the greatest respect to Dr Jackson, it now turns out that CJ Archie’s proposed course of study will benefit him (Dr Jackson) in updating a human rights law book by deceased Ms Margaret Demerieux.

Dr Jackson is the executor of her estate and therefore has control of the copyright of this book. Ironically, in so far as the CJ will be studying Industrial Relations, Dr Jackson has stated that this is due to the fact that Ms Thomas-Felix, “The President of the Industrial Court has not had any sabbatical so she has not had opportunity to look at it, although she is the most knowledgeable at the moment on the day-to-day operations.”

The crewmen thank God in their own way, that they never pursued education at tertiary level and in any event, not at UWI!

These players all came together in the public’s view before. Recently, the appointment of Supreme Court judge Quinlan-Williams raised concerns as there was a complaint against her for having granted bail to two accused men after the said bail was denied them by another magistrate. Former Justice Rajnauth-Lee proffered two charges against Quinlan-Williams. Deborah Thomas-Felix prosecuted whilst Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson defended Quinlan-Williams.

The Great Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona appears to have yet again played a hand in determining the charges against Quinlan-Williams close to his elevation as President Designate. These matters troubled the public when Quinlan-Williams was appointed by the CJ Archie-led JLSC in April 2017.

Unfortunately, after Carmona is thrown overboard, and Archie completes his studies, these matters will continue to affect the integrity and confidence in the Judiciary.

Next week – Part 3


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