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‘Archie needs to lead by example’

Published: 
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chief Justice Ivor Archie’s appointment gave the Judiciary “hope” of healing, a judge stated.

However, “the mood quickly transitioned from one of hope to one of dismay”, because of what was perceived as Archie’s lack of “interpersonal skills” by some, a judge stated.

“In the face of the recent controversy, he behaves as its business as usual. Many believe that he simply does not care as he seems to be enamoured by the trappings of office,” a judge stated.

Another judge, however, felt Archie was simply being used as a “scapegoat”.

“He is not perfect. He has his shortcomings like all of us but he has the Judiciary at heart and I think he is just being used as a scapegoat,” the judge stated.

One of the shortcomings Archie has been accused of is the delay in completing outstanding judgments.

In November 2013, attorney Criston J Williams took Archie to task, questioning delays in the delivery of appeal judgments.

Williams issued a pre-action protocol letter to Archie claiming the delays breached his clients’ constitutional rights.

Williams represented convicted killers Lester Pitman and Gerald Wilson who had been awaiting judgments in their cases for three and four years respectively.

In a second letter to the Supreme Court Registrar, Williams signalled his intention to send a complaint to then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asking her to exercise her discretion under Section 137 of the Constitution which deals with impeachment proceedings against a Chief Justice.

 

The letters caused a stir among legal circles with Williams explaining that when he initially drafted the second letter dated December 5, 2013, it included all three appellate judges comprising Archie, Paula Mae Weeks and Alice Yorke Soo-Hon.

However, acting on the advice of a Queen’s Counsel the letter was eventually addressed only to Archie.

On July 3, Archie was part of a Court of Appeal panel that delivered a judgment that was heard two years earlier on July 24, 2015.

“There is a judge attached to the Family Court who has been de-rostered for a substantial time so as to complete outstanding judgments but how can one call upon judges to account when you as the leader are simply on your own beat,” a judge stated.

Volney, who left the judiciary to become a candidate for the People’s Partnership in the 2010 general election, said he would have thought twice about early retirement had Archie not been chief justice.

“Rather than accepting responsibility and offering any kind of genuine regret for it, Archie has refused to man up for this crisis created by him, so much so that two members of the JLSC have quite honourably resigned clearly for lacking in confidence in the Chief Justice for his dogged obstinacy,” Volney stated.

“As I said before, Ivor Archie has a moral duty to step down as Chief Justice so that the Judiciary may breathe again,” he said.

Meanwhile, the imbroglio involving Archie, the JLSC and former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar continues.