‘A need for reflection’
After serving one year in office, lawyers grade AG’s work…
ATTORNEY GENERAL Reginald Armour has survived his first year in office and some of his colleagues believe he should still be given a chance to prove himself.
Others are of the view that reflection is needed.
This Thursday marks one year since Armour was appointed as AG by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on March 16, 2022.
Criminal Bar Association head Israel Khan, SC, says the AG’s year was hectic, demanding, onerous and overwhelming.
In a phone interview with the Sunday Express yesterday, Khan said he would give Armour a “B” grade, saying there is room for improvement. He noted the AG came into office after Faris Al-Rawi, and he believes he is trying his best in treating with a “mess”. “Look at what had happened with Al-Rawi entering into an indemnity agreement with (Vincent) Nelson and causing the cases to collapse, he made a total mess of it. When (Armour) inherited that portfolio, he would not have realised the mess that department is in. He came into a mess and he needs massive assistance in order to clean it up,” he said.
Khan said he hopes there will be a “massive improvement” in relation to the criminal justice system, and also that Armour will demand that he needs expert advice attached to his department.
‘Give him a chance’
“We must remember that he is not a politician and there will be teething problems, so let’s give him another year and see what’s happening,” he said.
The Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs is the heaviest portfolio to carry, Khan said.
“In the Office of the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley could just stay home and have the public servants run the department, you cannot do that with the Office of the Attorney General, he has to be proactive. I cannot understand why he took this position, but they called upon him to serve and he decided to serve, so let’s give him a chance,” said Khan.
Attorney Martin George said there is the need for the AG and other public officials to look in the mirror and grade themselves.
He said: “I think it has been interesting to show how challenging it is, sometimes, for the transition from private practice to public life and the scrutiny which attends public officials and public affairs, and it also exposes the frailty and fragility of our practices, procedures, principles and politics in Trinidad and Tobago because it is clear that one is not able to rely upon robust independent integrity in these offices, but, instead, we have them being propped up politically by the protagonists on either side.”
George said he thinks some of the matters that have already arisen and that are in the public domain are yet to be addressed in terms of accountability and clarity to the public.
“It is unfortunate that we are yet to see in Trinidad and Tobago the admission in relation to things—for example, if it is that a mistake was made, there is need for that level of accountability,” he said.
George noted that in the United Kingdom the chairman of the party of the prime minister was called upon to resign because of allegations in terms of things that occurred in public life, and he had to step down.
“But unfortunately in Trinidad and Tobago, we create king gods and persons who feel that they are strong men in the small-island state and, therefore, they are accountable to no one,” he said.
George said he would suggest to people in public life that they look in the mirror and make their own assessment honestly, impartially and realistically as to how they perform.
Attorney Leela Ramdeen was also of the view that there is need for reflection. She posited yesterday: “There have been so many issues that he’s had to face, and all I will say is that there are people in high positions in our society and in other societies, too.
“I’m in England now and it’s the same thing here. They themselves need to know when the time comes to make a decision about their future, that’s all I would say. There is just too much going on, and if we want to build fair and just societies those on the top need to reflect on their own behaviour to see whether, in fact, they are mentors or role models for the rest of society.”
By: Anna Ramdass