Prime Minister takes full responsibility for AG Armour

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

THE Prime Minister says he will take full responsibility for the appointment of Reginald Armour, SC, as Attorney General.

In doing so, as he spoke at the post Cabinet press conference on Thursday, Dr Rowley answered a question asked of him at an earlier press conference, on if any due diligence was done prior to selecting Armour as AG back in March.

Armour, 65, who was at one time an attorney for Rowley, replaced Faris Al-Rawi as AG in a Cabinet shake-up which also saw Al-Rawi moved to the Local Government Ministry.

Rowley did not answer the due diligence query sent to him via WhatsApp on June 10, while he was in Los Angeles attending the Summit of the Americas; and on July 2 at a press conference, prior to his departure to Suriname to attend the Caricom heads of government meeting.

At the post Cabinet press conference on Thursday, this reporter told Rowley: "Prime Minister, I would have asked you a question on the last occasion just before you travelled to Suriname and you got a bit cross with me, but I will ask you the question again."

Rowley: "You find I was not cross enough. If what you are saying is true, that you asked me a question and I got cross with you and you are going to ask me again, either you think I am mad or you want me to get cross with you again and I don't think so.

Reporter: No sir, I am asking you the question in the public's interest.

Rowley: The public, come on.

Asked whether he questioned Armour on his past cases prior to his appointment as AG, and whether he (Armour) had made full disclosure, including his involvement in the Piarco case as a defence attorney, the PM said, "Mr Bahaw all of that description is good and I would love to see you at the Cabinet table or somewhere else making it.

"Mr Armour is not a pick-up-side person who was brought into the Cabinet as attorney general. Mr Armour is a person of high distinction who functioned in this country as a judge on the bench and certainly when he was offered the position, the question of him not continuing his business as a practitioner would have been understood and agreed to.

"But to ask me if I asked him about all the cases and identified this case and that case, all of that would be covered by the understanding that as AG, you cannot function as a practitioner practising for anybody.

Attorney General Reginald Armour

"But as AG coming to represent the public and advising the Cabinet, there simply will be no limit to the advice that he can give the Cabinet and of course, if there is a conflict while he is doing that, he knows what to do and he has done that.

"And I will say no more, as I told you earlier on, I will say no more on that matter. Maybe one of these days when you and I are having a beer, we will discuss it further, but right now where it is at that kind of interpretation that you are putting on it, is not going to serve the purpose and I am glad to see you have identified and the whole idea of this matter of fraud against the State is so important that it is now attracting the attention of the media.

"I say no more, I let the court do its work. And with respect to who I select to put in the Cabinet, I take full responsibility for that. And with respect to the motive as to why anybody will do what you are implying that was done, a case has not been made," Rowley said.

On May 2, Armour was disqualified as the chief litigant representing TT in a US$40 million civil asset forfeiture case against his former client Brian Kuei Tung and others.

The US law firm which had been chasing the case for over 18 years was also disqualified. That matter is under appeal.


"Prime Minister takes full responsibility for AG Armour"

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