Last update: 11-Dec-2013 2:30 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Archie wants to control finances
Chief Justice Ivor Archie has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to initiate talks on the financial independence of the Judiciary. He made the call while addressing the opening of the 2013/2014 law term at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and several Government ministers attended. Archie said: “I hope that as we move foward there can be productive dialogue on the question of appropriate financial arrangements for the Judiciary that will be conducive both to greater efficency and to the financial and administrative independence that is an internationally accepted component of the institutional independence of the Judiciary.”
He described the financial allocation process for public sector agencies, such as the Judiciary, as a hindrance to efficency and productivity. “Procedures are lengthy and cumbersome and in the case of the Judiciary, sometimes offend against the principle of judicial independence,” he added. Archie cited the example of him having to seek Cabinet approval for official overseas travel. “There is no justification for such a request to be subjected to a blanket policy that all official travel must be scrutinised by a committee of Cabinet. “I cite this merely as an example of the type of inefficient and over-centralised government that we have all inherited,” he said.
Archie said as of June 30 last year, the Judiciary only received 40 per cent of its capital expenditure budget allocation. “It is critical for the Judiciary to have adequate resources and the proper control and autonomy for managing them,” he added. Archie said during the last year, the Judiciary’s main capital expenditure was on improvement works at the three Supreme Courts (Port-of-Spain, San Fernando and Tobago) and at the Scarborough and Point Fortin Magistrates Courts. “The Judiciary is bursting at the seams and we urgently require movement on the construction of the proposed judicial complexes,” Archie added. He said significant funding was spent on training court staff and for ICT solutions to improve vital court processes. Archie said in an effort to manage costs, the Judiciary intended to allocate resources on a per court basis, which would assist in easier cost management and monitoring.
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