Armour’s competence and conduct have been called into question by two significant events:
1) The failure of the State to defend the malicious prosecution claim brought by persons who were freed by Justice Malcolm Holdip in the Vindra Naipaul-Coolman trial; and
2) His conflict of interest in the US Court in relation to the Piarco Corruption case in which he attempted to perpetuate a fraud on the court by failing to disclose the full extent of his conflict of interest. His reprehensible conduct was found to be a violation of the rule that prohibits lawyers from acting against their former clients to protect the integrity of the administration of justice. He has lost in the motion to disqualify him and the government’s law firm by both the Circuit Court Judge, and now, the Third District Court of Appeal.
Armour’s defence in both these matters is suspect and bogus. He claims the file mysteriously disappeared in the Naipaul-Coolman matter and that he had a lapse of memory in the Piarco Corruption case. The mystery of the disappearing file is bogus because his legal team was present and fully participated in the trial and could hardly have done so if they did not have a file.
The State’s lead counsel Ms Karen Reid Ballantyne is now a High Court Judge and we have already called upon her to clear the air on this matter and state whether she conducted an entire trial and made legal submissions without a file. We highly doubt whether this could have happened and hence the Judge must speak up to expose Mr Armour’s lie against her.
In relation to the Piarco Airport corruption case, the lapse of memory defence is ridiculous and an insult to our intelligence. Armour is not fooling anyone. No one believes that he could have forgotten his role in the largest corruption case in the country’s history. He was not a mere “note taker” as he claimed, but one of the leading lawyers for those accused of corruption in the Piarco Airport scandal. It is highly unlikely that he could have conveniently forgotten the millions he was paid for his services in that matter.
Strangely, the AG has appointed, not one but two, retired judges to investigate the alleged mystery of the disappearing file in the Naipaul-Coolman matter. How on earth could the AG appoint his own investigators to investigate his own incompetence and mismanagement? It would appear that Armour thinks he can be the judge, jury and executioner in his own cause. This is a fundamental breach of the principles of natural justice, a complete waste of taxpayers’ money, and nothing more than political damage control to save a floundering AG who is against the legal ropes and compromised beyond redemption.
It is strange that Armour has not seen it fit to appoint investigators to investigate his misconduct and breach of the Code of Ethics in the Piarco Corruption case. The US Court of Appeal has affirmed the decision to disqualify both Armour and the State’s law firm, Sequor Law, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in wasted legal fees.
Today we ask Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley: are you going to call upon any independent agency to investigate Armour’s misconduct in this matter? To appreciate the seriousness and gravity of Mr Armour’s misconduct we invite all citizens to view the recorded hearing of the appeal as it is accessible to members of the public on the following link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymDL1P2CBTk&ab_channel=ThirdDistrictCourtofAppeal
The AG has no power in law to investigate himself. He is a fool to think that he does and the UNC condemns this exercise in futility. It is clear that Al-Rawi and Armour both fell asleep at the wheel. As Ministers charged with the responsibility for the Ministry of the Attorney General, they cannot pass the buck. Any investigation that is designed to deflect attention from this reality and truth will have no credibility. Any investigation that is based on the false premise that Madam Justice Karen Reid Ballantyne conducted an entire trial without a file begs the question, why not simply ask the judge (as we have done) to clear the air so that we will know if the mystery of the disappearing file is but a figment of Mr Armour’s imagination and nothing more than a plot he has concocted to deflect attention and save his own skin.
The AG’s attempt to investigate himself is a scandalous and vulgar abuse of power and exposes the political hypocrisy of Dr Rowley’s leadership and the PNM in their consistent calls in the past for Ministers in the People’s Partnership administration to step down until an independent investigation is completed and their names are cleared. Today we ask Dr Rowley, what has happened to that principle now that the shoe is on the other foot?
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
3nd February 2023