1. “Constitution mandates this process”. I dealt with that in my previous post. Having the power to do something does not mean you should do it or that such action is constitutional. The convention has been to appoint persons who would be at least expected to act independently. This is perhaps why judges have been nominated and appointed in the past.
2. “Anonymous Vote” This again is a poor defense. Is the PM saying that he nominated Ms. Kangaloo thinking her nomination would be defeated? Or that members of the Govt would vote against the candidate he has publicly endorsed. Obviously not. His nomination as PM is expected to be successful. The problem is with his choice of candidate who has been ensconced in the PNM for many years and has actively advocated for the gospel of the PNM to be spread. Nothing is wrong with holding that view, the problem is putting someone in a position to spread that gospel within independent institutions or placing persons in those institutions with such a political agenda. The only inference to be made is that her exercise of power would be partisan and not beneficial to Service Commissions, EBC, Integrity Commission etc.
3. “Politicians have been made judges” or words to that effect. This, respectfully, is not persuasive reasoning; it is sophistry. Currently, judges are not selected by the PM, they are selected by the JLSC. Clearly, in the case of any particular judge who now serves, the JLSC was satisfied that the said judge was no longer in active politics or could discharge his/her functions independently. Can that honestly be said about Ms. Kangaloo? The JLSC has nothing to gain by selecting that person as a judge and so the population can trust that decision. On the other hand, the PM and his political party can benefit by decisions made by Ms. Kangaloo (such as EBC appointments) In any event, any litigant who feels a judge may be tainted by bias (political or not) can make an application for that judge to recuse himself. That application can be appealed to the Privy Council if necessary. Whenever a President Kangaloo appoints a member of the EBC or JLCS, there is no similar recourse for citizens.
4. Jwala Rambaran decision. I respectfully suggest the PM read the decision; he could obtain a copy from his minister of finance. The issue was one of natural justice. The constitution also did not explicitly require the cabinet to afford Mr. Rambaran an opportunity to be heard yet the decision was found unlawful. The fly in the ointment for Mrs. Kangaloo however is that such an important order should have been left for the substantive office holder, a former judge, who would have likely required adherence to Natural Justice prior to the termination order. The PM said she obtained legal advice before she made the order; that could only mean the decision was not ritualistic and required consideration, all the more reason for her not to have involved herself. The enthusiasm to facilitate the flawed process is a material matter which, whether the PM thinks so or not, is relevant to an assessment of Ms. Kangaloo’s fitness for office.
Additionally, the PM himself have made previous utterances on the matter of a serving president where he suggested that arrangements for the presidency should be reviewed to avoid active politicians. The logic to be extrapolated from such an argument is that the office, should as far as possible, be kept free of political appointees.
Unfortunately, he seems to have changed his position because it now benefits him to do so.
Attorney At Law