A High Court judge is calling on her colleagues to request an urgent meeting with Chief Justice Ivor Archie to explain himself over recent allegations contained in a newspaper report. An e-mail was sent by Justice Carol Gobin yesterday to all judges, including the Chief Justice, calling for the meeting.
“For the past few days there have been in the public domain, very serious and scandalous allegations concerning the conduct of the Honourable Chief Justice. I am mindful they are but allegations,” Gobin noted. According to her, the Code of Ethics for judges recognises that questionable conduct by any judge reflects on the Judiciary and serves to undermine public confidence in the judicial system
“In this case, the allegations are against no less than our Chief Justice,” Gobin wrote. “May I please humbly request and I do so for the sake of the institution and preservation of what is left of public confidence in it, that we request an urgent meeting with the Honourable Chief Justice upon his return, to discuss the allegations and to urge him to provide such answers as might explain them for the benefit of the public whom we serve, and for us members of the judiciary.
“If it turns out these sordid allegations are without any foundation or truth, then I believe we are duty bound to forcefully defend the office of Chief Justice and the judiciary,” she wrote. Gobin also included excerpts of the Code of Ethics in the body of her e-mail to judges.
“I am hoping that as you reflect on the guidelines, you will be persuaded that we ought not to shirk our responsibility to each other, to the institution and to the public, by ignoring the issue,” she said. On Thursday, Senior Counsel Martin Daly and former head of the Public Service Reginald Dumas also called on Archie to account.
In a joint statement, Daly and Dumas said there are two serious issues which emerged from the newspaper report, which Archie has to answer. The issues are, according to Daly and Dumas, the allegation of the association during the occasion of an official engagement in Guyana with a person with a criminal record, arising out of the forgery of the signatures of two judicial officers.
And secondly, the allegation that a solicitation was made to obtain alternative security arrangements for judges of the Supreme Court from a private-sector company, which is undoubtedly a matter for a public procurement process. On Wednesday, the Law Association issued a similar call.
A release said the association was of the view that the charge levelled at the CJ, was as yet unsubstantiated, but it is concerned about the report that after the meeting with judges, the CJ communicated with a friend who was connected with a private security firm, indicating he had spoken with judges about their security. The association said it, therefore, considered it would be prudent for the Chief Justice to publicly address the allegations. Archie returns today from the Hague, Netherlands.