Astonishing, embarassing. These were some of the words used by former vice-president of the Law Association Hendrickson Seunath SC to describe the acceptance of silk by Chief Justice Ivor Archie and Appeal Court Judge, Justice Wendell Kangaloo, from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan last week. He said yesterday: “What is astonishing and embarassing is sitting judges taking silk. “Once you become a judge you can no longer advocate. Whether the award was given to them or whether they applied, it ought not to have happened.”
Seunath further stated that the giving of silk to the two judges was “well thought out” by those who offered and those who received it. He added: “It was self-serving and has nothing to do with the purpose for which it (silk) was created. “It is embarrassing to the profession and the Judiciary, making non-advocates silk, it was never meant for them. “It is a tradition that goes back to England and was originally reserved for counsel at the Bar, advocates. “It is an honour that is bestowed on those who achieve a certain level of excellence at the Bar.”
Seunath said when he was appointed senior counsel in 1998, there was a committee of silk at the time with Karl Hudson-Phillips QC and Tajmool Hosein QC in charge. “They sat and decided, as heads of the profession, whom they should recommend for silk,” he said. He wondered if the awarding of silk to 15 people, including Archie and Kangaloo, was political. Former PNM House Speaker Barry Sinanan was among those conferred with silk by AG Ramlogan.