PORT OF SPAIN –– Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen yesterday renewed his call for the resignation of Chief Justice Ivor Archie, saying he is responsible for the fiasco in the judiciary following the elevation of Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar to the High Court.
Ramdeen, an attorney, called a news conference at his Woodbrook chambers yesterday, declaring that he was “not hiding behind anything to say that the Chief Justice must go”.
He said he had information from a summit of specially selected people convened by Archie last week Wednesday to determine the way forward for 53 matters left unresolved by Ayers-Caesar.
It was attended by three judges of the Court of Appeal, three High Court judges, four magistrates, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Registrar of the Supreme Court and two members of the Law Association.
A media release from the Judiciary, dated May 25 said during the meeting “consensus was reached” and it was agreed that all 53 part heard matters would be restarted “de novo”.
However, according to Ramdeen, Sophia Chote SC, who attended the meeting, has since written to the Law Association stating that when she and others, including the DPP pointed out that matters being heard de novo required the notes of evidence from the earlier hearing, they “were met by loud and lengthy discourse by Browne-Antoine J who disagreed, and went on to say that she wanted to be ‘put down’ there so she could wrap up the cases. “
Ramdeen said Chote insisted that there was “certainly no decision taken on the matter [to have the cases started de novo] nor were we individually polled for our views”.
She added: “We were not asked to view any press release nor were we told that there was going to be a press release. There was certainly no collective decision taken at the meeting.”
Chote could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Ramdeen said he wanted to know why the accused in the matters were not given a hearing at the meeting.
Acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earle Caddle is expected to hear the matters on Thursday.
Ramdeen said he plans to begin proceedings in the High Court to quash the decision of the summit and declare it unlawful, without jurisdiction and null and void.
He said the matter is very serious and requires the intervention of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and President Anthony Carmona.
Ramdeen said while Rowley is not responsible for the situation, he should act because he is the leader of the government and President Carmona holds the highest position in the country.
“We must find a way to rescue ourselves from where we are now and somebody has to be held accountable for where we are today,” he said.