Appellate Judge Charmaine Pemberton was sworn in as a member of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) by President Anthony Carmona at a ceremony at the office of the President, St Ann’s on Tuesday.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie said a sitting judge being appointed to the JLSC was “perfectly permissible” within the boundaries of the constitution. The Commission’s constitution states that its members should include the Chief Justice, head of the Public Service Commission, a sitting or retired judge and two persons with legal qualifications. Earlier this year, the United National Congress, challenged the composition of the JLSC claiming that a retired judge does not fall in the last category, which was meant for lawyers. In dismissing the lawsuit, the Court of Appeal agreed with State attorneys who claimed that judges were attorneys before their appointment and were still qualified after retirement, albeit without permission to appear before courts for 10 years. The UNC has since taken the matter to the Privy Council.
Speaking about Pemberton’s qualifications, Archie said those made her a very valuable addition to the JLSC. He said she held a diploma in International Arbitration and she was the first person in the hemisphere to achieve a perfect score.
“That is testament to her commitment to excellence and meticulous attention to detail which is one of the qualities I know she will bring to the work of the JLSC,” he said.
Archie said it was a happy day for the country because in spite of the vilification and attacks people go through because they want to serve their country, Carmona has been successful in persuading people of this calibre to offer themselves to national service and the country can be grateful and proud.
Meanwhile, Carmona said Pemberton came at a time when there was a sense of disquiet.
“I have a firm belief you will be part of that quieting process that is required to move our country forward,” he said.
Also sworn-in was Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) Dr Fazal Ali and its members, Joanne Joseph-Hannays, Elizabeth Crouch and Anushka Anya Alcazar.
Carmona said he saw Ali as a guiding light in the country’s education system.
He said the Commission was a very important group of people who have acquired competencies to deal with all that awaits them.
“At the end of the day I would like to see the TSC encouraging in the school system, innovation and invention. But in producing teachers who help students pass exams we also need to produce teachers who build human capacities, great human beings that is what we need in TT,” he said.