9 May 2017

Constitutional flim-flams

There are 3 constitutional crises facing the Trinidad and Tobago right now. The crises are:

  1. The Marcia Ayers-Caesar infamous promotion to the judicial bench.
  2. The possible illegality of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).
  3. The possible illegality of the Police Services Commission (PSC).

I will deal with them in order listed.

Ayers-Caesar is the former Chief Magistrate (CM), a post held in the past by another infamous and less-than-honourable son of the soil, Sherman McNicolls. Search for on this website Shermie and you will find loads of shenanigans he was involved in. It must be something in the office that affects the head (and possibly wallets) of the office holders. In any event, we have a situation where the CM was promoted to the High Court and left some 54 outstanding cases behind, all of which may have to be restarted from the beginning. This pissed of those charged in these matters, and a riot occurred in the jail cells downstairs from the court which resulted in some police/prison officers (I forget which) being hurt. Of course, they can now sue the State (using the copy and paste master, Gerald Ramdeen for a sure win) for failing to provide a safe working environment (and that’s only for starters!).

But Ayers-Caesar is expected to go back to the position of the Chief Magistrate, toppling her replacement who can now sue the State because she has/had a ‘legitimate expectation’ to the post she was promoted to. And, if that is not all, the Chief Justice (CJ) claims Ayers-Caesar never resigned as CM. What?! I’ve never known someone having to resign from one position, within the same organisation, to take up a higher post in the same organisation. Did I miss something? Now we have a whole bunch of questions jumping out at the CJ and JLSC, the latter making the appointment by the way.

  • If Ayers-Caesar didn’t resign, was she collecting salaries as both CM and a judge?
  • Did Ayers-Caesar’s replacement know she wasn’t really promoted and so has no legitimate expectation to either job or salary?
  • Why was there no due diligence checks?
  • Did she sit in hearing for any cases at the High Court? What happens to those matters?

You see? All kind of questions come to my mind, and I am sure the public (and legal fraternity) has thought up a lot more.

Which brings me to the JLSC. If it is illegal as purported, then this whole episode is a mere speck in the judicial pond. Immediately coming to mind is that Ayers-Caesar appointment would be illegal, as would her replacement’s… and so would any appointments made during the period of illegality!! How so, you ask. Well, an illegal entity can’t appoint a legal entity. Simple. What is illegal can’t make the illegal legal. Now look how this spreads:

Every single appointment would have to be declared void (more lawsuits) and all monies paid by way of salaries and perks would have to be recovered. Like throwing back the cascadoo yuh done eat back in the pond. Hundreds of appointments in the most part, I suspect. And we haven’t even begun to think about the cases those so appointed have been involved in. Can you imagine a few thousands of prisoners realising that the magistrate or judge who heard their case is not legally appointed to do so? What about those who were/are sentenced to prisons or even fines? I see floodgates opening for lawsuits and a mess worse that the sewage dumped in Queen’s Park Savannah.

Same situation for the PSC.

I hope readers now see better how this constitutional gobar (cow dung) is important to be washed, dried and deodorised quickly… I really hope so.

Before I forget… those of you who are wondering why magistrates and judges aren’t commenting ought to know that they can’t. They have to remain impartial in both private as well as public life. Sad, isn’t it? They can neither complain, nor defend themselves.

4 May 2017

Is A Long Time

Is a long time I eh write ah blog post here. Is not that shit eh happening, is de opposite – it happening too farse and furious fuh meh to keep up. Not only dat doh, I have exams coming up and de amount ah reading getting heavier. Imagine having to read 11 chapters fuh one piddling assignment that only 1500 words.

Buh back tuh meh thoughts on shit happening farse and furious… it never stop really so it eh have have no parts 1 tuh 8 here. Is one continuous line ah shit like ah waste truck pumping out ah latrine. De amount ah meh thoughts ah had was tuh rubbish, jess tuh keep sane. Some like ah fishbone in meh craw doh.

Ah mean, ah still cyah get over de fact dat de Opposition Leader SC (I realise it really mean someting like Stupid Cow if ah being polite) insisting dat de property tax forms ‘illegal’:

“I am a lawyer, but I have consulted with other lawyers and we have gone through the Valuation Land Act and we have gone through the Property Tax Act and it is very clear that this form, is null and void.”

Ah mean, dotishness come in all shape and form but dis ‘oman is in a league of her own.

Leh we eh forget another UNC blowhard. Search this site for ‘The case of the Walking documents’ and yuh go find Gerald Ramdeen name coming up. Ah man who in de middle ah all kinda corruption probe actually get pick by the UNC to be part ah de team in de Senate.

And leh we eh forget dis fiasco with the promotion/demotion of the former Chief Magistrate (CM). First dey telling we she resigned as CM tuh be a judge, den she resign as a judge tuh go back tuh being CM, allegedly tuh finish outstanding matters. Den we are told she cyar go back as she resigned being CM. Since dat go put de cases she was hearing, de Judiciary, de Chief Justice, de Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) not tuh mention de ‘reputations’ of all de aforementioned in real monkey pants; dey decided dat fuh de purposes of getting her back tuh de magistracy she didn’ really resign as de CM.

Dis is where de logic fall frickin’ dong. So, fuh de 2 weeks she was ah judge, she was collecting 2 salary?! One as CM and one as a judge? Dat is like being Prime Minister and Leader of de Opposition at de same time. Yuh see how frickin’ dotish dat is?

Israel Khan right… like toxins take over …

Buh yuh know what de saddest part ah all dis is? De people eh care. Dat is why all dis going on and dey will continue to misuse de law. Is obvious dem dong dey eh even know what de rule of law is, or how it applies tuh dem.

25 Apr 2017

Gone and forgotten

This bears repeating:

A caller to a radio programme last week suggested there is the danger that we could kill the messenger without hearing his message. He was commenting on the demands made by Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen that Chief Justice Ivor Archie, as chairman of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, release all the information on the recent appointments of three judges to the High Court.

The caller suggested further that Senator Ramdeen’s demands be examined fully, that they should be seen in a wider context of our time—when our institutions appear to be falling apart and the credibility of office holders is being questioned publicly.

I found merit in the caller’s suggestion, so I re-examined the recent call by Ancel Roget, president general of the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, to BP to “take your platform and go” and the statements of Watson Duke, president of the Public Service Association, during his call for a “Day of Resistance”.

I fitted both statements into the context of our time, and the results were the same: I concluded that Mr Roget needs to be enlightened about the realities of T&T in the 21st century, and Mr Duke, a crude, showy brawler, is best suited for a Randy Glasgow’s comedy special.

To review Senator Ramdeen’s message we should begin with the February 2014 High Court matter between his client, Jamal Sambury, and the attorney general before Master Patricia Sobion-Awai in which she declared herself “satisfied that substantial portions of the claimant’s witness statement had been lifted from other witness statements in an attempt to mislead the court.”

She noted “the similarities” between Jamal Sambury’s witness statement and that of Jamal Fortune in a previous case (CV 2009-3296), describing them as “so striking that the only reasonable conclusion was one was copied from the other”. She recorded her concerns and called for an investigation to prevent further abuses.

Later in the Appeal Court Senator Ramdeen, instructed by Varun Debideen, appeared before Justices Mendonca, Smith and Rajnauth-Lee. Court documents revealed that attorney Lee Merry, appearing for the AG, reminded the court of Master Sobion-Awai’s conclusion that “the conduct of the litigation was dishonest and an abuse of process.”

Justice Mendonca observed that Master Sobion-Awai wrote “it was a plagiarism from somebody else’s witness statement”, to which Merry responded that in such an instance the main form of deterrence was imprisonment for contempt.

This copying and pasting of evidence became known as “Prisongate”. In May 2014, Chief Justice Archie instructed that the matter be referred to DPP Roger Gaspard, who said in a media release that the matter warranted a criminal investigation. That July, Debideen attempted to introduce an explanation to Master Sobion-Awai but it was denied. In October, ACP Donald Denoon told the Sunday Express that several attorneys were interviewed and he expected the matter “to be concluded soon”. It is still ongoing.

The context widens in November 2010 when one considers the case, known as “The Walking Files”, in which attorney Mark Seepersad reported to the High Court that he shared office space with Ramdeen. On Ramdeen’s departure, he discovered in the office confidential High Court documents and personal belongings of one Asha Harripaul, at the time a judicial support officer.

The judiciary reported the matter to the police. Investigator Sgt Guevarro submitted a report in May 2011, detailing responses from Seepersad. It was concluded then that matter did not warrant further investigation.

After a Sunday Express expose in 2015 Seepersad said he was never interviewed. Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams then directed ACP Simon Lendor to re-open the matter. Senator Ramdeen claimed that he was questioned by the police, but no mention was made of the “Walking Files”. The investigation continues.

The context widens further, involving prisoner Michael Bullock, a former client of Senator Ramdeen. In February 2009, Master Paray-Durity made an award to Bullock, but in December 2001 that same year, unknown to Bullock, the monies were deposited into Senator Ramdeen’s account. Bullock wrote to the AG and Law Association. Last February, eight years later, the senator paid Bullock $407,000. The Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau continues its work.

Both Ramdeen and Debideen came in for severe criticisms from Sir Anthony Coleman, chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into Clico, who blamed them for the delays in that matter. Last year, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi revealed that Senator Ramdeen’s State briefs under the People’s Partnership government, totalled some $36 million; the Senator responded, giving up all his State briefs.

A still wider context? Should any of these matters go before the new judges will Senator Ramdeen be shouting “victimisation”?

Keith Subero is a veteran journalist

16 Apr 2017

ignorance or stupidity?

Every so often, I encounter some article that makes me wonder about whether people are just stupid, or deliberately ignorant. Take this person:

Beware debit card skimming

Card skimming has been around at least 2 decades, if not more. We were warned about this way back in the 1990’s in Trinidad and Tobago. So for this person to profess such ignorance makes me ask myself, under which rock had he been sleeping? The alternative is sheer stupidity. Same with people who, decades after the scam was exposed, still get taken in by 419 scammers.

Some basic precautions :

  1. Use a credit, not debit, card for online purchases. Credit cards usually have more protection. And debit card accounts usually have your savings which are at risk. If a scammer gets hold of your credit card details, then the most they can get is up to the limit of the card, not your entire savings.
  2. Use a card with a low enough limit to prevent undue liability in case something goes wrong. A card limit of £500 (TT$5000) can usually cover any purchase necessary for everyday expenses.
  3. Repay the card when you receive your salary, or as much as possible, to reduce interest payments. Most cards give about 56 days before interest is imposed.

A fool and his money….

31 Mar 2017

‘He dogs dead’

It’s high time the people of Trinidad and Tobago – including the educational ‘elite’ – wake up to reality.

What am I talking about? Prayers, nuh.

Govt urges Shouter Baptists 'to raise their collective voices' in prayer for crime screams the headline.
'Baptists have important role in reduction of crime' is another.

Once more, the so-called ‘leaders’ of the society are calling on people to “pray for crime”. I’ll get back to the words in the quotation marks in a bit. In the meantime, they refuse to face the fact the prayers have never worked, and will never work. But hey, the Christians prayed, the Hindus prayed, the Muslims prayed, then they all prayed together in various groups and gatherings and combinations and yes, the criminals still preyed. And are still preying.

Which leads me to think that, like the words in the quotation marks above, they are ‘praying for crime’ in the literal sense, since there is no sign of abatement.

I’m not surprised that crime is rising, and will continue to rise… when the best that those with the authority and resources to fight crime can do is call for prayer to battle criminal enterprise, then is more than dogs dying… it will continue to be the people.