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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Law Association head on Integrity resignation: No reason not to bring back Ventour
Law Association president Seenath Jairam, SC, is throwing his support behind retired judge Sebastian Ventour, saying there is no reason why Ventour should not be reappointed to the Integrity Commission as deputy chairman. Ventour, who served for seven months on the commission, resigned last Thursday to deliver three outstanding judgments after being sworn in as a judge for a single day. He explained in his resignation letter that as a member of the commission, he was prevented by law from delivering the judgments. His resignation meant the work of the commission has been halted as there is now no one with a legal background on its board as required.
Key investigations could be temporarily suspended, such as the e-mail probe and a request by the Opposition for a probe into Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s purchase of two Range Rover SUVs using tax exemptions as a public official. Questions also have been asked about Ventour’s locus standi for writing judgments, since he retired from the bench in 2012. But Jairam has insisted Ventour’s integrity was still intact. “Why shouldn’t he be reappointed to the Integrity Commission? What has he done? “He has done nothing wrong. He left the commission to deliver the judgments and he should be brought back to the commission,” Jairam argued. He admitted, however, that the matter was “somewhat clumsy” and could have been handled better. But given the situation, he felt there was little choice but to have Ventour return to the bench to deliver the judgments.
Jairam added: “To restart these three matters would be time-consuming and costly. Given the lesser of the two evils I would have preferred Ventour to resign, deliver the judgment then return to the Integrity Commission. “Mr Ventour’s reputation has not been diminished. He is also fair-minded and that is important.” A source close to the commission yesterday said there was a possibility Ventour could be reappointed to the commission, adding this was one avenue which President Anthony Carmona can pursue. The source said owing to the nature of the matter it should be looked at with some degree of urgency. Contacted yesterday, public relations officer at the Integrity Commission, Mervyn Crichlow, when asked about Ventour’s reappointment or the appointment of a new member, said the matter was up to the President.
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