UNABLE to deliver three outstanding High Court judgments while serving as a member of the Integrity Commission, Justice Sebastian Ventour on Wednesday resigned as the commission’s deputy chairman.
Ventour was yesterday sworn in as a temporary puisne judge of the High Court in order to hand down the three judgments.
One of the judgments Ventour handed down yesterday was the more than ten-year-old case between Mora Ven Holdings Ltd, Mora Oil Ventures Ltd and George Nicholas versus Krishna Persad & Associates Ltd and Krishna Persad. (See Page 16)
Following the expiration of the term of office of four of the five members of the Integrity Commission last year, President Anthony Carmona appointed Ventour, Seunarine Jokhoo, Deonarine Jaggernauth and Dr Shelly-Anne Lalchan to fill the vacancies.
On July 1 last year, Ventour was appointed a member of the Integrity Commission and named its deputy chairman.
He had retired as a High Court judge in 2012 after 14 years on the bench.
Ventour, however, had three judgments outstanding.
According to Section 4(5) of the Integrity in Public Life Act Chap 22:01, “A person shall not be qualified to hold office as a member of the (Integrity) Commission where he is a person in public life or a person exercising a public function.”
In his letter of resignation from the Integrity Commission, Justice Ventour explained that he has three outstanding judgments to deliver and is prevented by law from doing so as a sitting member of the Integrity Commission,” a release from the Office of the President stated yesterday.
The appointment was made on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC).
Section 4(5) of the Integrity in Public Life Act Chap 22:01 prevented Ventour from “being appointed a High Court judge (albeit temporary) while holding office as a member of the Integrity Commission,” the release from the Office of the President stated.
“In the circumstances, Justice Ventour was constrained, in accordance with Section 6(1) of the act, to tender his resignation as a member of the Integrity Commission in order to facilitate his appointment as a judge of the High Court,” the release stated.
Ventour, who has a legal career spanning more that three decades, was the only person with a legal background on the Integrity Commission.
The Express unsuccessfully sought to contact Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon for a comment on how Ventour’s resignation and the absence of a person with a legal background would affect the Commission.