CHIEF Justice Ivor Archie will administer the oath of office to the nation’s sixth President, Paula-Mae Weekes, at her inauguration on Monday.
Archie is now expected to go on leave on March 20, the day after Weekes’ inauguration at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Sources said the Chief Justice was booked to leave the country on Tuesday. He was first expected to miss the inauguration, as he was scheduled to leave last Sunday.
He changed his travel plans when asked to by acting President Christine Kangaloo after the government raised concerns on the issue. Sources also confirmed that Archie was in the country and at work yesterday.
He has since decided not to go on sabbatical but proceed on extended vacation leave.
The government’s position is that Archie is not entitled to any sabbatical leave under terms of the Salary Review Commission’s (SRC) 98th Report.
President Anthony Carmona, in a response to Prime Minister Dr Rowley’s request to explain under what authority he acted in granting the sabbatical, said he was satisfied that the CJ exercised his administrative prerogative as head of the Judiciary when he decided to take leave. The Judiciary said on Friday, that the way was clear for judges to take sabbaticals, based on a series of past recommendations by the SRC, Cabinet, Parliament and the report of a committee of judges headed by then Justice Weekes.
The Judiciary and the President both referred to the SRC’s report as well as the Hansard, dated February 21 2014, quoting Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal as saying, “Cabinet did agree to accept the recommendations of the Salaries Review Commission contained in the 98th Report dated November 29, 2013 (except) transport facilities regarding the limit on tax duty exemptions and motor vehicles.”
According to Cabinet Minute 495 of February 13, 2014, Cabinet agreed to “accept the recommendation” of the SRC’s report. The Cabinet Note, signed by M Singh-Maraj, secretary to the Cabinet, agreed to have the report tabled in both Houses of Parliament.
On April 29, 2014, Finance Minister Larry Howai. in Circular No 2 of 2014, to all permanent secretaries, heads of department, chief administrator of the Tobago House of Assembly and heads of statutory bodies, advised that the SRC’s report had been approved by Cabinet.
The circular set out the complete compensation package applicable to each office in the report and said any condition of service which had not been expressly identified in the compensation package of any office or not mentioned in the circular would continue to apply.
“You are requested to take the necessary steps to effect payment of revised salaries and allowances immediately and to consult with the Ministry of Finance and the Economy to identify the necessary funds to meet the payment of arrears,” Howai wrote.