The heading of the e-mail titled ‘a case of political amnesia’ bore the name of Anand Ramlogan Attorney General.
The five-page e-mail, a copy of which was obtained yesterday by Newsday, was reportedly circulated during Thursday’s post- Cabinet meeting at which it was agreed that Persad-Bissessar, currently on a State visit to India, and acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister Winston Dookeran were not to comment on the raging issue.
Dookeran spoke at Thursday’s briefing but refused to express any views on calls from several quarters for the CJ Archie and Justice Kangaloo to return their Silk.
The preface to the e-mail, allegedly sent from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s, officeto the majority of Government members, read: “This statement has not been issued by the AG but has been provided for the general information and use so that people can make informed comments (if they so desire).
“There is no question about the Honourable Chief Justice and Justice Kangaloo being asked to return Silk. The same applies to PM and AG. We are unfairly targeted in light of our political history and there is ample precedent,” the statement said. It bore the name Anand Ramlogan.
The e-mail was broken up into several sub-headings, one of which stated that the “root of this controversy is now the popular sport of government bashing.” It is for those consumed with this new activity, the appointment of silk was the proverbial lamp-post waiting for a passing dog.
The e-mail added that the process now being criticised was never raised by any of the senior silks who gave ANR Robinson’s appointment a silent stamp of approval.
The e-mail also crtiticised Karl Hudson-Phillips who made no objection when during the NAR regime sitting Chief Justice Clinton Bernard was conferred with silk.
“Were these principles considered dormant then but have suddenly sprung to life now that a People’s Partnership Government is in office?”
The e-mail said at the time Clinton Bernard was appointed Senior Cunsel on the advice of Mr Robinson, the president of the Law Association was Michael de la Bastide, but there is no evidence of any objection from him at that time. With respect to Martin Daly the e-mail said “somehow he missed the donkey cart that was being driven through the Judiciary then.”
“The e-mail; continued “the idea of the appointment of judges as Senior Counsel breeches the doctrine of separation of powers is absurd. Some had suggested that National Awards might be more appropriate. Would that not be subjected to similar criticism ?”
“Individual independence and integrity of judges are not compromised by the conferring of an award or honour by the executive arm of the State. This has long been recognised that it is now established in our system by conferring national awards to sitting judges.”
Finally, the e-mail pointed out that Senior Counsel is reserved for advocates who have demonstrated excellence and distinguished themselves at the Bar is specious and disingenious. “There is therefore no basis or rationale for the elitist demand by some that the CJ and Mr Kangaloo return their instruments.”
The e-mail ends that “the time has come for society to ask these Senior Counsel practicing at the Bar to give back to the community. The law and society is in a constant state of evolution. The appointment of Silk cannot remain shackled throughtout our colonial past.”