We live in a democracy that is premised upon the rule of law, respect for the law and independent and impartial judiciary where no one is above the law and all are subject to the law.
The increased public awareness of certain alleged conduct on the part of Chief Justice Ivor Archie has caused Attorney Gerald Ramdeen to raise his client’s grave concerns arising out of the fact that the Archie sat on his election petition appeal.
In Ramdeen’s letter to Archie captioned: (1) urgent request for information and (2) proposed application to set aside the orders made by the court of appeal in the election petition brought by Shevanand Gopeesingh (c.a. no. 293 of 2016), he alludes to allegations made against Archie with regards to his recommendation to Prime Minister Keith Rowley and to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) a list of named persons to be granted low cost HDC housing, alleging that Archie asked for assistance in having these applications progressed and/or fast-tracked and that some of these persons on the list are his personal friends. (SEE ATTACHED)
Ramdeen’s letter is based on the decision of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago’s (LATT) resolve to refer this alleged misconduct, along with other matters, to the Prime Minister to initiate proceedings under section 137 of the Constitution, which LATT considers these allegations to hold enough weight to merit reference for impeachment proceedings.
Ramdeen told the CJ that his request for information is further based on the absence of any public denial or detailed substantive response from him which has caused his client to have legitimate and genuine concerns as to the appearance of bias on the part of the Court of Appeal which determined the appeal in his election petition.
It is noteworthy that had the six petitions succeeded, the sitting government (including the Prime Minister to whom it is said that you made the requests for housing preference) would have been at risk of removal from power.
He further told the CJ during the same time as he was deciding these appeals, he was said to have been communicating with or awaiting a (favourable) response from the Prime Minister and/or the HDC in respect of the individuals that he recommended for low cost and fast- tracked housing.
Ramdeen told Archie that this gives rise to a serious basis for questioning whether your he ought to have sat on those appeals and/or whether, because he did so, the Court was tainted by the appearance of bias.
If any of these are compromised anarchy will be the inevitable result.
On behalf of his client, Attorney Ramdeen is now calling upon Chief Justice Archie to answer unequivocally whether the judicial process was compromised and whether was our democratic electoral process sold for “30 pieces of silver or houses for the boys.”
Both Chief Justice Archie and Prime Minister Rowley must understand that this matter will not go away; the country needs and demands answers.
Read full letter here Letter to CJ