Monday, December 18, 2017

Anand not returning silk

... accuses Ramesh of 'political tabanca'

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AG: Anand Ramlogan

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ATTORNEY General Anand Ramlogan will not be following in the footsteps of Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice of Appeal Wendell Kangaloo, who returned the title of silk conferred upon them last Friday.

Ramlogan also criticised former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj who commented on Sunday that there was no process, no accountability and no transparency for the appointment of the 16 lawyers, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and Ramlogan, on December 30, last year.

In response, Ramlogan said Maharaj has politicicised the issue, and he described Maharaj's calls for him and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar to return their title of silk as "disingenuous".

"He (Maharaj) is a crusader without a cause and, of course, has taken the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon although a little bit belatedly perhaps because the crisis as far as I'm concerned came to an end when the honourable Chief Justice and Justice Kangaloo in their wisdom decided to return their instruments of appointment....The criticisms Mr Maharaj has levelled against the honourable Prime Minister constitute a personal attack that is spawned by a very incurable case of political tabanca that Mr Maharaj has been suffering from ever since he was defeated and rejected at the hands of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, I don't think he'll ever recover from that quite frankly,"said Ramlogan.

"...I think there are too many holes in anything that he says. He says that perhaps Mr (Basdeo) Panday should have gotten Senior Counsel, perhaps Mr Maharaj forgot that he was Attorney General who served in Mr Panday's Cabinet and he would have been the one responsible for giving Mr Panday silk. Why did he not give it to him? Was it because he was too busy perhaps awarding silk to many other persons, including his wife?"

While speaking with reporters following the opening ceremony of the 21st Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain yesterday, Ramlogan was asked whether he and the Prime Minster should keep their silk title, to which he responded "absolutely".

"...I could only speak for myself. Look the reality is I've practised law for 15 years and my voice at the bar was heard as a junior counsel from here to the Privy Council. I have 45 cases of the Privy Council, that is more than Mr Maharaj himself and all of the other persons who have spoken in this country about this matter have...Being Attorney General, in my respectful view, as the tradition obtains in Jamaica, Barbados and so many other countries in the Commonwealth, I think because you are the titular head of the bar, you should be conferred with Senior Counsel. Perhaps the opportunity has presented itself for us to formalise that so that it will not be a case of any aberration," said Ramlogan.

The decision to confer the title of Senior Counsel on Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice of Appeal Wendell Kangaloo drew criticism from former chief justices Michael de la Bastide QC and Satnarine Sharma, former attorney general Karl Hudson-Phillips QC, and former president of the Law Association Martin Daly, SC. And in a letter to the editor Hudson-Phillips wrote that the time had come for the procedure and criteria for awarding silk to be revised.

Ramlogan maintains that the criticisms of Kangaloo and Archie were personalised and unfair.