Saturday 4 July, 2020

President's Office reveals reasons for JLSC resignations

The Office of the President has given full disclosure behind the resignation of former Justices of Appeal Roger Hamel-Smith and Humphrey Stollmeyer from the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).

The statement comes on the heels of former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan criticising the former appeal court judges who, according to a previous statement from the Office of the President, tendered their resignations by letter on June 22 for ‘personal reasons.’ The resignation became effective on June 30.

Ramlogan said this explanation was vague and went against the transparency required for persons who held such an office.

According to the statement issued today, retired Justice Stollmeyer decided to step down as a result of the negative publicity meted out to him.

He said  “recent events have given me reason to pause and reflect upon my commitment to public life and duty to my country. It has become increasingly obvious that fulfilling that duty, or those duties, faces great difficulty in light of the ever-increasing tendency in our society to criticize and condemn unjustifiably … those who undertake the task of serving.  Inevitably, it causes distress both to the individual and to his or her family and friends.

“It is unfair of me to continue to inflict that distress upon those for whom I have so much love and regard. I find myself with no alternative but to depart public life,” he added.

Meanwhile, retired Justice Hamel-Smith said his resignation was “for reasons personal to me.”

Communications Adviser to the President, Theron Boodan, noted that President Anthony Carmona has previously expressed that it is unfailingly difficult to find qualified members of the public who are willing to be assigned to various positions of public office.

Boodan said Carmona has alluded to the reluctance of good, competent, qualified and experienced citizens coming forward to serve, on almost every occasion during ceremonies at which members of Commissions and Boards are sworn-in.

He said the President believes this is, in large part, due to the amount of negative publicity and unfair criticism faced by these people.

“The reluctance, he would note, is in large measure sometimes due to the vitriol, unfair and unjustifiable criticism levelled against persons brave enough to serve and the resulting hardship and undue distress caused to family members and genuine friends.”

“The Office of The President is of the view that everyone has a right to criticise and be critical but no one has a right to malign and denigrate another. Criticisms must always be grounded in civility, decency and comity.”

According to the release, last month, at the swearing-in ceremony of attorney-at-law Michelle Solomon-Baksh as Deputy Director of the Police Complaints Authority, President Carmona made it clear to Ms Solomon-Baksh that she was entering the” lion’s den” of a sometimes unforgiving public and she would need the support of dear friends and family. He also cautioned Teaching Service Commission member Allan Noriega to beware of the slings and poisoned arrows that will come his way. He advised Noriega to remain strong, fair, resilient and independent.

The President is seeking to assure the public that in spite of this apparent reality, his Office will continue to persevere and will not give up in sourcing suitable persons for public office.The public is also assured that the President has already begun the process of finding suitable candidates to fill the vacancies in the JLSC.

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