DESPITE Chief Justice Ivor Archie’s staunch defence of his stewardship at the ceremonial opening of the law term on Monday, attorney Martin George begs to differ and believes there is still a prevailing sentiment in various quarters that all is not well in the Judiciary.
“It appears that notwithstanding all that has been said and done, the perception persists that all is not well in the state of Denmark,” George told Newsday. He said the onus was on “responsible professionals” within the judicial and legal circles to uphold the standards of the fraternity so as to avoid public mistrust.
“It behooves us all as responsible professionals to try to do whatever is necessary to ensure that we uphold the standards, the dignity and the respect for the profession and for the offices within the judicial system so that the public can regain that trust and confidence in the dispensation of justice.”
George added: “So, those who know that they may not be living up to those ideals, they are the ones who need to look within the mirror, look within themselves and see where they can make that improvement because the nation depends on it. The citizens deserve better.”
He said citizens also have a responsibility to lift the standard of the discourse and debate to a level where “we focus on improvement and betterment instead of the constant tearing down and breaking down of our institutions and systems in Trinidad and Tobago.”
In his address, Archie took aim at his detractors, including the media, legal fraternity and judges but also acknowledged the seeming disdain for institutions of state and occupants of public office.
“Today, we feel empowered to tear down our leaders and institutions they lead and even those we belong to. As leaders, we lose sight of the fact that in doing so, we undermine our own legitimacy, weaken the society while eroding our own independence and sovereignty,” he said.
George said while the role of Chief Justice was difficult, the office holder still should not expect leniency from the public on matters for which he has jurisdiction.
“Many are called but few are chosen. So, therefore, by the same token, no one is expected to give a bligh or a pass to say that because the job is difficult, therefore, we are going to turn a blind eye to things that need improvement,” George said.