I note the release purporting to be that of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, (LATT) about my comments on their recent special meeting concerning the disgraced Attorney General Reginald Armour S.C.
1. I note the LATT issued this release even though its President, Sophia Chote, publicly stated the organization would not be commenting. I raise the following questions:
a) What accounts for this U-turn?
b) How many members were consulted prior to the issuance of this self-serving release. Was there wide consultation with members or was consultation restricted to fragile grovelers only?
c) Is this U-turn because of my comments pointing out the failure of some to disclose serious conflicts of interest as recipients of state board appointments and/or multimillion-dollar state briefs have bruised fragile egos?
2. The fact that many attorneys are afraid to publicly express their views on this matter speaks to the unacceptable culture of secrecy that is being propped up by some self-serving and grovelling members.
3. I wish to remind the LATT that the Motion of No Confidence was not a simple motion against a member or simply pertaining to members’ business but was related to one of the highest office holders in our nation based on facts regarding his conduct while undertaking actions on behalf of the state.
4. I also point out to the LATT that the AG himself publicly heralded the results of this meeting in the political gayelle as some sort of support for his office, thereby further bringing this meeting under public scrutiny. Therefore, it is my duty, not as a member of the LATT but as this nation’s Opposition Leader, to comment on this decision which Mr Armour publicly hailed as having confidence in him.
5. The public has a right to know that the AG’s lying was defended by some attorneys with ridiculous and puerile statements. Some of the more shameful examples are:
“The gentleman was on vacation with his family in Europe in a hotel room and I don’t know sometimes I don’t know what kind of hotel room he was in but some of those hotel rooms in Europe are very small hotel rooms, you have, you’re in the middle of [a] city, he has no access to his papers.”
“to err is human”.
“I would say Reggie Armour is my friend so let me put that on the table so those who want to say I am defending him and I am against this motion because he is my friend that is not a sin”.
6. It is cause for serious concern that:
a. Many who grovelled in favour of AG Armour (and there is no dispute that they have a right to so do) failed to disclose that they were in receipt of large state briefs and/or state board positions.
b. They did not refute the actual evidence presented against disgraced AG Armour regarding his lies.
c. The idea that the public learning of these statements somehow jeopardizes the apparent sanctity of LATT meetings is a view I do not share. In my opinion, this disclosure only jeopardizes the position of the ‘legal aristocracy’ who believe there is one law for ordinary citizens and another law for disgraced AG Armour.
I call on the LATT to release the transcripts of the special meeting to the public. Failure to do so will only do damage to the organization in the eyes of a discerning and educated public.
Attorney General Armour may feel he can rely on the protection of his friends in the inner bar to shield him from public accountability, but he would be severely mistaken. As his disqualification in a Miami court has shown, he cannot hide from the truth.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
23rd July 2022