Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday insisted that he acted properly, legally and reasonably in the matter involving the Law Association of T&T (LATT)’s move to have Chief Justice Ivor Archie impeached, stating there is nothing more for him to answer and would stay clear of any “kangkatang.”
The PM was responding to High Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram who on Wednesday in a ruling, ordered Rowley to reconsider his decision to reject LATT’s call to impeach Archie.
Kokaram made the order as he partially upheld the LATT’s legal challenge against Rowley’s decision.
He also ruled that Rowley made an error by concluding that the association’s investigation into misconduct allegations levelled against Archie was influenced by the Opposition.
Pressed on the issue at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Rowley said this matter was not between him and anyone.
“This whole kangkatang is a matter between the Law Association and the Chief Justice. All the concerns… and the allegations… and the accusations and the whatever is the Law Association and the Chief Justice.”
He said we should not lose sight of this.
Rowley said the Office of the Prime Minister only became involved in the matter “because in the kangkatang I was invited in first as a witness which I declined and then I was invited secondly when all else failed to invoke Section 137 which under the Constitution happens to lie at the Office of the Prime Minister.”
Rowley said he went as far as providing LATT with legal advice he obtained from a London’s Queen’s Counsel “independent of my own office…independent of this country.”
The PM said some people felt “I had not done what they wanted done and proceeded to the court.”
Rowley said he was “not surprised” and was “quite pleased” that the judgment of the court had been published “so the population knows that a judge has looked at what the Prime Minister did and came to the conclusion that the Prime Minister of T&T who was invited into this kangkatang has not acted unreasonably… has not acted illegally….has not acted improperly. And that is all I am concerned about.”
Rowley said the population can sleep well knowing that Kokaram has concluded that “there is nothing there for me to answer.”
In submitting an affidavit to the court, Rowley said he did not submit anything with respect to his political duty.
“In the judgment, there is the intangible of a request to consider. I respect the courts of T&T and if there is a request for reconsideration nothing could be easier and cheaper.”
Quizzed about Kokaram’s ruling that he made an error by concluding that the association’s investigation into misconduct allegations levelled against Archie was influenced by the Opposition, Rowley said he explained to the media in great detail how he proceed to make the decision that was challenged.
“And that decision was found not to be unreasonable, illegal or improper. And I rest my case right there. I am not going to enter into any further discussion on the matter.”
He said if there are any legal interpretations to be had, as he has done before on other matters “I do not advise myself in matters of law. And I will be advised by my legal assistant.”
Rowley said for him there are occasions where silence is golden “and this is one occasion.”
Pressed if he intended to reconsider his decision as ordered by Kokaram, would seek legal advice and what was his next course of action, Rowley shot back saying “I have said all that I want to say on this matter. If there are any legal requirements I will be advised by my legal assistant.” (See page 6)