20 Mar 2018

Letter to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Letter to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,

Dr Keith Rowley


Dear Sir,


I am wondering where is my land of ‘milk and honey’ that I was promised by your PNM predecessor, the late Mr Patrick Manning. You have not delivered on Mr Manning’s promises to this nation. There is no tangible strategy for delivering to the people, ‘the land of milk and honey’. Instead, the country is in a perfect mess and well on a highway to hell! In effect the PNM has hoodwinked this nation.


I write to you with fervent hope that you use the powers of your respected Office to assist my beloved country rise above on at least one major crisis it is caught in presently. In this part of my letter, I refer to the sad, sorry spectacle of the Chief Justice hanging on to his Office by the proverbial fingernails tips.


May I point out some obvious facts to you? The Chief Justice holds not one, but two other important Offices because of his exalted position as Chief Justice -- the titular head of the Bar, and the Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission. Therefore, I am forced - my words choking past the disbelief strangling them in my throat - to ask, “Which one of these Offices was responsible for the ‘promotion’ and, more importantly, the ‘termination’ of Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a judge?”


Upon a clear answer to the above question, can you please then tell us which Office will be using taxpayers’ dollars to defend this monumental cockup in the Courts since Mrs Ayers-Caesar has already begun legal proceedings?


You see, my Prime Minister, there has been several notable ‘indiscretions’ the Chief Justice has been associated with while holding in Office - all of which, by the way, have been aired in the public domain, making Trinidad and Tobago a laughing stock at least among Commonwealth Nations that have inherited the British Westminster-style model of governance. Any one of these ‘indiscretions’ might constitute a prima facie case of serious misbehaviour in public office. Sadly, I am to understand that in your capacity as Prime Minister, you have refused to see what lies before your very eyes.


Any discretion you may have within your powers under Section 137 of the T&T Constitution, lies solely in your hands. But such discretion is not absolute and is not subject to your sole whims and fancies. You see, in Sharma v. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions & Ors (Trinidad and Tobago) [2006] UKPC 57, brought to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) by your former party leader Patrick Manning, at paragraph 27 Lord Bingham clearly says:


“the court was, however, right to say that if the Prime Minister received a potentially credible report of serious misconduct by the Chief Justice he had a duty to act and could not simply ignore it


Clearly, considering what ‘appears’ to be serious misconduct arising out of the behaviour of the Chief Justice, you have a duty to permit the President to appoint an independent tribunal regarding an investigation. A duty, sir, that you cannot ignore - in the words of the esteemed Judge. You are required by law not to fetter in any discretion or powers you exercise. Your failure to act decisively and diligently could open you to Judicial Review. You are perhaps aware that one of the grounds for judicial review is abuse of the discretion that you must refer the matter to the President. Abuse of that discretion could come by several means, unreasonableness being merely one. Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘Wednesbury unreasonableness’? It is when a decision is made that is so absurd that no reasonable person could possibly come to that decision. In Trini parlance, dotishness, nuh.


There are many other ills facing T&T, the ‘land of milk and honey’ according to your ex-boss. High crime rates, where people - living in self-protective steel cages - cannot even open a gate to drive a car into their own properties without bandits attacking. Young girls going missing; whether murdered or trafficked, we do not know. The police don’t know either for that matter. Even pension-age women aren’t safe, as sick rapes and murders are common to that age group also.


The foreign exchange situation is a merry muddle. The ferry fiasco is adrift in the open sea. Traffic into the centralised capital is a nightmare in daytime. The security services are insecure. There is a real perception that the Integrity Commission has lost sight of ‘integrity’. I can go on and on, but the important point is that all is not well. It is a country convulsing on the edge of a precipice, and any day may see the final convulsion that pushes it into the abyss.


Even if you act today Sir, the results may not be seen for another 20 years, in realistic terms. That does not mean you give up. You and your party can act now. Leave a commendable legacy and make the future brighter for the future generations. But failure to act leaves another type of legacy, as left behind by the last three of your predecessors. That type of legacy only fuel ‘rum-shop talk’ and it ill befits a Statesman. Let your name and party live on for the right reasons. Show the sturdiness of character you wish to be remembered for.


I hope that you take this advice in the spirit it is offered - as patriotic steerage to bring Gypsy’s ‘sinking ship’ back to safe shores.