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Saturday 21 September 2019
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Probe TT govt’s inaction on CJ Archie

Letter to British PM

Chief Justice Ivor Archie.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

UK human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has written to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May calling on her government to “seek answers” to allegations against Chief Justice Ivor Archie, saying the TT government “is ignoring” them by refusing to trigger the impeachment provisions of the Constitution.

Tatchell has represented Dillian Johnson, the alleged friend of Archie who was seeking asylum in the UK but was instead granted humanitarian protection and is now in Scotland,

In an e-mail to May, he appealed to her to refer the matter to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Chancellor and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth “for investigation, with a view to raising concerns with and seeking answers from, the Government of TT.”

Tatchell confirmed to Newsday that he wrote to May on Wednesday. Johnson has also written to the UK Home Secretary expressing fears for his life. Tatchell also spoke about the attempt on Johnson’s life, and said the government has been “hesitant to trigger any proper investigation.”

When Johnson was shot in Trinidad, Tatchell said, the police made no attempt to interview him “despite him having given a detailed 18-page statement to the anti-corruption bureau. “Even now, Mr Johnson does not feel safe in the UK. He fears that he could be assassinated.”

Tatchell also said the TT police have “attempted to press” the UK National Crime Agency to reveal Johnson’s address in the UK, which, he said, was a cause for concern for Johnson. “For what reason did they want to find his whereabouts?”

He also mentioned the recent incident involving former coastguardsman Richard Edwards who accidentally shot himself while showing employees how to use a firearm on Friday night.

Edwards, 50, was the owner of Multinational Protection Specialist Network. He was identified by Johnson in his statement to police and by a woman who, in a sworn statutory declaration, said she was approached and asked to point out the house where John­son lived in Gas­par­il­lo.

Given Britain’s close historic ties, Privy Council connections and aid and trade with TT, Tatchell said, “What is happening in that country ought to be a matter of concern to our government.”

He also mentioned the Privy Council’s ruling which paved the way for the Law Association to continue its probe to determine if there was a basis to approach the prime minister to invoke section 137 of the Constitution so that the President can set up a tribunal to investigate the allegations against the CJ.

He said sitting judges in TT have publicly spoken out, and even mentioned Carnival Friday’s ole-mas presentation outside the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

“Sitting judges on the bench in TT have also publicly issued statements expressing concerns…Most recently, members of the public commented on the state of the judiciary in less than complementary terms during the nation’s Carnival last weekend,” Tatchell wrote, adding: “The allegations are that the judiciary of TT has been brought into disrepute and ridicule, which is extremely damaging to public trust in the rule of law.”

“The final court of appeal for TT is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and as such the integrity of, and confidence in, the judiciary of TT should be of concern to the United Kingdom. “There is an immediate and urgent need for the UK to seek answers,” Tatchell said.

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