Saturday 21 April, 2018

Justice Frank Seepersad says CJ must step down

Another judge is today raising concern about the decision by the Chief Justice to proceed on sabbatical leave for six months, in light of allegations of misconduct levelled against him.

Justice Frank Seepersad is calling on the CJ Ivor Archie to do the right thing and step down.

His call comes one day after outspoken High Court Judge Carol Gobin issued a similar call, claiming that the Judiciary had been brought into disrepute and that judges have been left battered.

Speaking at today’s post-cabinet media briefing, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young said that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley only received communication from Office of the President on March 6 regarding the sabbatical application by the Chief Justice.

Minister Young told reporters that the Prime Minister has since written to the President seeking clarification on the basis for the application of this sabbatical leave.

Justice Seepersad has written to his colleagues on the issue expressing dissatisfaction.

“I have great difficulty in accepting that a sabbatical should serve as period for rest and reflection. It is objectionable that any Judge should describe the privilege and honour associated with judicial service as onerous. I am certain that the additional responsibilities associated with the office of the Chief Justice are significant but if the office holder can no longer effectively discharge same, then it is time to graciously exit the position."

A number of allegations have been made against the CJ, among them is the claim that he attempted to advise Supreme Court Judges to change their state-provided security in favour of a private security company that employs his close friend Dillian Johnson, as a consultant. 

It has also been alleged that Johnson, a convicted felon was listed as one of 12 people who successfully obtained houses from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) after the Chief Justice personally called senior officials of the HDC to fast-track the applications.

Justice Seepersad said that to date the Chief Justice’s responses to allegations levelled against him have been at best superficial and noted that his concerns have not been eviscerated.

“The call late last year for a meeting was dismissed and there has been no internal engagement or attempt to address the concerns which have been repeatedly outlined. Consequently, I am now at a place, where, without reservation I urge the Chief Justice, to put the institution first and step down,” Seepersad added.

 

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