ATTORNEY Subhas Panday said yesterday that president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Seenath Jairam, had betrayed attorneys by accepting a brief to be the lead counsel in the CLICO/Hindu Credit Union Commission of Enquiry.
Panday said that before being elected head of the Law Association, Jairam gave his word that he would never have done such an act.
"He was campaigning and we asked him that exact question, would you be taking briefs from the government and he said ... that he would never take briefs and that was the basis on which we supported him. He betrayed us," Panday said.
Contacted by cellphone yesterday, Jairam said he was unavailable to speak.
"I am dealing with an emergency matter. But I will issue a statement tomorrow," he said.
Jairam, along with chairman of the Congress of the People (COP) Joseph Toney and attorney Jagdeo Singh last week accepted the brief from the Ministry of Finance to be the legal team in the CLICO/Hindu Credit Union Commission of Enquiry.
They replaced lawyers Fyard Hosein SC and Michael Quamina who were on the case for the last 18 months.
But on Thursday, Jairam handed back the brief and, in a statement, said he had breached no ethical or professional standard by accepting the brief but he was bound, based on public perception, to lead by example.
Queen's counsel Karl Hudson-Phillips in a letter to Jairam called on him to resign and stated he (Jairam) had put himself forward to be president of the Law Association to "ingratiate yourself with the Executive to get briefs".
He compared Jairam's conduct to a president of a trade union who accepts a vacancy caused by the lockout of a member of his union by an employer.
"That is called scabbing," Hudson-Phillip stated.
Toney, who was appointed junior counsel, also returned the brief saying it was causing discomfort to members of his political party.