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Saturday 7 December 2019
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Vasant: PM must invoke Sect 137

Rowley told to stop ‘grandstanding’

Former government minister Vasant Bharath.
Former government minister Vasant Bharath.

FORMER government minister Vasant Bharath is calling on the prime minister to abandon his political grandstanding and invoke Section 137 to put an end to the long-running impasse in the judiciary regarding questions Chief Justice Ivor Archie is being asked to answer. This, Bharath said, will restore the citizens’ faith in this critical institution.

Bharath said Dr Rowley is doing no favour to Chief Justice Archie neither is he inspiring confidence in his thought process and management skills by refusing to acquiesce to the recommendations of the Law Association (LATT) to trigger this section of the Constitution to invoke an impeachment process.

“Note that the constitutional measure could have led to the clearing of the dark clouds that hover over the head of TT’s most senior judicial officer and the judiciary itself,” Bharath said in a statement.

Rowley last week announced he will not act on recommendations after receiving legal advice from counsel whom he has refused to publicly name.

The LATT is said to be preparing an official letter to Rowley demanding the name of the counsel whose advice he (Rowley) acted on in not triggering Section 137.

“Already, several jurists are distressed by the PM’s decision and independent analysts are pondering how the prime minister could remain indifferent on this unsettling matter. Justice and fair-play demand that Dr Rowley re-examine the issue with a dispassionate outlook and consider the insights of the LATT and other knowledgeable institutions and individuals.

“This unresolved issue has resurfaced at a time when the six-year-old E-mailgate disgrace has been brought to a conclusion and the country is witnessing Dr Rowley’s attempted sleight-of-hand to claim victory.”

As with the CJ matter, Bharath said there are relevant unresolved issues, such as the prolonged period by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in bringing this ugly issue to a conclusion and the peculiar turn-of-phrase in doing so.

“Equally relevant is the fact that international tech companies have long dismissed the e-mails as fake and the Integrity Commission had discharged the matter out of hand. To all critical thinkers and objective patriots, there are crucial disturbing issues on both affairs that challenge Dr Rowley’s judgement and the public’s trust in his national leadership.”

He drew reference to the Brexit crisis and the pending resignation of British Prime Minister Theresa May and that of former British PM David Cameron due to a loss of confidence in their leadership rather than lead their country into uncharted constitutional crisis.

“In TT, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is stumbling from one disaster to another, the latest being the E-mailgate finale, desperately clutching on to office in spite of growing grievance over his leadership.

“The crime calamity should have been sufficient to convince the prime minister to dissolve Parliament and seek another mandate, hopefully with workable proposals to counter the scourge.”

Now, his refusal to trigger Section 137, Bharath said, has sparked pertinent questions about his professional analysis and has led to finger-pointing about alleged parochialism. Bharath said Rowley must refer to his oath of office and concede that he cannot simply dust his hands and walk away from these disturbing matters.

“Equally, TT must rigorously insist on holding its leaders to higher standards and demand that they respect the electorate and our institutions. Unfortunately, in developing counties such as ours, insecure leaders will continue to run roughshod over deliberately kept weak institutions.

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