Attorney General Anand Ramlogan notes with sadness the passing of former AG Mr. Karl Hudson-Phillips Q.C. Mr. Hudson-Phillips or “Karl”, as he was affectionately known, was a larger than life character who dominated the political and legal landscape during his distinguished career. His contribution in both spheres helped shape and transform our young nation and society in the post-independence era.
Karl was considered a legal genius by many. He was an advocate par excellence and possessed the unique ability to advocate both civil and criminal cases with equal distinction. He was a formidable advocate at the criminal bar and led the prosecution and defence teams in many historic trials throughout the Caribbean. Most notably, he was Lead Counsel in the Grenadian murder trials resulting from the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and his Cabinet in October 1983. He successfully prosecuted Naresh Boodram, Joey Ramiah and Michael “Rat” Maharaj for the murders of Anthony “Tooks” Greenidge and Stephen “Bull” Sandy.
Karl also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2003 to 2007, paving the way for future nationals such as President Anthony Carmona SC who recently resigned from the ICC to assume the Presidential post and Justice Geoffrey Andrew Henderson who is presently sitting as a judge of the ICC.
As a former President of the Land Tenants and Ratepayers Association, Karl represented the poor and downtrodden and was fearless in the pursuit of social justice. He had a deep sense of conviction and belief and was not afraid to take on mighty institutions regardless of the consequences. He was prepared to challenge the established norms in our country. The sheer force, weight and impact of his opinion is reflected in the ensuing moment of national pause and reflection.
Whilst he was a lawyer first, his most important and impactful intervention was in the political sphere. After Karl’s Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR) failed to win a single seat in the 1981 elections despite securing the second highest number of votes, he combined forces with Basdeo Panday’s United Labour Front (ULF) to form the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) which defeated the PNM 36-3 in the 1986 polls. This was the first time in our political history that the PNM was defeated in the General Elections.
His political acumen and selflessness altered the political paradigm and broke 30 consecutive years of PNM rule (1956-1986). It is noteworthy that he did not take any Ministerial appointment in the NAR government that he helped to create.
Karl was a former President of the Law Association. He helped to develop the legal profession and insisted on very high ethical standards at the bar. To his colleagues, he was a colourful character full of life and energy, whose humour and wit was legendary. He was a mentor and inspiration to many young lawyers who will gladly testify to the important role he played in their professional development.
The country and legal profession has lost the grandmaster and the intellectual giant to whom we owe an eternal debt of gratitude.
Dated: THURSDAY 16th JANUARY, 2013.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO