Trinidad & Tobago’s PM Defends Senior Counsel Appointment

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday January 16, 2012 – Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she has no intention of giving up her Senior Counsel (silk) appointment despite calls for her to do so.

Speaking yesterday on her return from an almost two week trip to India, the prime minister said this would have implications for those who received the appointment over the past 50 years.

At the same time, she said she “respected” the decision of Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Justice of Appeal Wendell Kangaloo to return their instruments.

“The judges took a decision and we respect that decision,” she remarked. “It is most interesting that many of the people who are making the most noise gave themselves silk in the first place and there was no noise. What is even more important is that should you take that route, then it means that every person who received silk under those criteria for the past 50 years, are you then saying they should all give it back? And I think the answer to that is no.”

Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley and former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj have criticised government ministers for accepting the appointments.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has since asked the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission to prepare a Green Paper on the issue. The Law Association has also agreed to establish a special committee to decide whether the Senior Counsel award should be abolished.

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