30 Sept 2016

Why Carmona should be sacked

Citizens of the country may not have any idea of the seriousness of the constitutional breach made by President Carmona in having a meeting with Minister of National Security, Chief of Defence Staff and the Ag Police Commissioner. The breach is not only of etiquette, but also of constitutional infringement between the separation of powers.

Keep in mind that the Office of the President is a throwback to the Crown from colonial days. Therefore, the President is actually in the role that the Queen formally held, and still does in England. Just as the Queen has a specific role in government, so too does the President. England is run by an elected government as is Trinidad; this is the executive arm of the government. The executive arm makes the decisions and policies. The President signs off on these, just as the Queen does. The Queen cannot even signal approval or disapproval of any government actions/policies/decisions. These can only be challenged by judicial review if there is a breach of law.

When it comes to National Security, the executive makes the decision – it is the English Parliament that decides to go to war, but it is the Queen who declares the decision of Parliament, that is, makes The Declaration of War. In a similar manner, the executive (Parliament) decides on matters of national security in Trinidad and Tobago, and the role of the President is merely to give official approval of those decisions. For the President to take on the himself the role of the executive is a very severe breach of the Constitution, and the rule of law.

To put it another way, in terms that President Carmona may understand: imagine that there is a trial going on. The judge calls one of the instructing solicitors from only one side into his office for a private meeting regarding the case. He has not invited the instructing solicitors from the other team, neither has he invited the barristers from either team. It does not matter what he talks about in this meeting. It only matters that there is a meeting. This is a very severe breach of the rule of law as well as judicial rules. It can lead to a mistrial, the sacking of the judge and even disbarment.

This is the severity of the President’s actions. And this is why the President must be sacked without delay