PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday June 2, 2017 – All eyes are on Trinidad and Tobago’s Chief Justice Ivor Archie after the country’s law association strongly endorsed no-confidence motions against him and the Judicial and legal Services Commission (JLSC).
More than 500 members of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) called on Archie and the JLSC to resign following a meeting at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday.
At that meeting, five motions passed:
- To resolve that the LATT express its loss of confidence in the honourable Chief Justice Ivor Archie as the Chief Justice of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- To resolve that the LATT express its loss of confidence in the honourable Chief Justice Ivor Archie as Chairman of the JLSC.
- To resolve that the LATT express its loss of confidence in the Justice Hamel Smith , Ms Maureen Manchouch, Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer as members of the JLSC
- The LATT do call upon the Chief Justice Ivor Archie to resign forthwith as Chief Justice of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- The LATT do call upon Justice Hamel Smith, Ms Maureen Manchouch, Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer, to resign as members of the JLSC.
The vote has no binding effect on Archie and the JLSC, but the association maintains they should do the “honourable thing” and resign.
Archie lost favour with the legal fraternity over his handling of the appointment of former Chief Magistrate Ayers-Caesar.
Back in April, after serving only two weeks as a High Court judge, Ayers-Caesar resigned amid concerns over her backlog of unfinished cases in the lower court.
In a statement, she admitted she never informed JLSC “of the full state of my list and request further time to bring matters to completion before confirming my readiness to assume duties as a Judge of the Supreme Court.”
Ayers-Caesar said upon “mature reflection” she realized it would have been “preferable” to advise the JLSC of her list.
Senior Counsel Martin Daly said the vote was a victory for accountability in public office and that both the Chief Justice and the JLSC should resign.
“If people lose confidence in you, it does not mean that you have committed a constitutional wrong, but rather that you have conducted yourself in such a way that you’ve destroyed people’s confidence in you and you cannot continue to preside,” he contended.