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At just 39 years old, attorney Stuart Young has taken on several high profile court cases and has now answered the call to make a difference, by serving the people in a different forum—in the political arena. He said his appointment as a temporary senator was at the complete discretion of PNM Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, and he was grateful for the opportunity to serve the country.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian at his Chancery Chambers office on Duke Street, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday, Young said he had no political aspirations and Rowley’s call came as a bit of a surprise. He said, “I think it really has its genesis in my professional relationship with Dr Rowley, because all of my interactions with politicians has always been a professional one where I’ve received briefs to do matters for them.
“It was after the ‘E-mailgate’ debacle when he was brought before the Parliamentary Privileges Committee and I was asked to be one of the attorneys representing him, and I worked very closely with him. “I attended the Privileges Committee sittings with Rowley as his advocate attorney, and I think coming out of that we developed a mutual respect for each other.”
Dad’s stellar reputation
Young grew up in a family-oriented environment. He said he never made career decisions based on his father, Richard Young, the former managing director of Scotiabank, or his reputation, as he cast a long shadow in the business and banking world. The eldest of three children, Stuart said his father has a stellar reputation as an exemplar for them to follow. He said he had taken a conscious decision to try and maintain a separate, private life to whatever his public life may have in store for him.
Young said he valued his privacy and family life very much; having a young family and very young children, he wanted to keep and protect them as much as possible. Young said he loved sports, having competed in triathlon events 20 years ago and recently resumed training. He was always actively involved in sports such as karate, rugby, cricket and tennis.
‘Crime out of control’
Young has participated in several public marches, such as the Keith Noel Committee protest march in October 2005, as well as the “Section 34” and Fyzabad labour marches. He said crime was out of control and marching was one way to show both the Government and the Opposition that citizens were taking a stand. When asked about public perception of the PNM comprising an “old guard” and if he could be viewed as “new blood” coming into the party, Young said that needed to be directed to the leadership of the party.
On Rowley’s announcement that the PNM was an all-inclusive party, Young said in his interaction and relationship with the party, he never felt it to be a discriminatory one. He felt it was high time the public moved away from these perceptions that the party was being driven by race. Young said he saw himself as a young professional and felt that was the signal Rowley was sending out—that he was willing to give an opportunity to young professionals who may have talent but may not have been given the opportunity in the past.
He said the PNM was welcoming young people from all walks of life into its fold with open arms, and this was evident during a victory celebration function after the local government elections when many young people from diverse backgrounds and races were elected as councillors.
Not happy with how T&T is being handled
Asked why he would take time away from his lucrative law practice to enter into the cut and thrust world of politics, and how will his legal acumen translate to the political arena, Young said it was a sacrifice he was prepared to make as he was not happy or satisfied with the state of the country as it wasn’t being handled correctly. He said he was dissatisfied with how politicians treated with the public, not answering serious burning questions such as the “E-mailgate” scandal.
Young said certain allegations had been made about high office holders and the simplest course of action to take was to get the Internet servers and ask to look into their e-mails and confirm whether they existed or not. He said to date, members of the public haven’t been given a satisfactory answer and the matter hasn’t been brought to closure.
When asked if he would be on the sidelines or playing an active role when the two main political parties gear up for general election in 2015, Young said he didn’t know what his political future holds but was prepared to serve the people of T&T. He said he was aware of his obligations under the Integrity in Public Life Act and intended to fulfil the letter of the law and file his declarations. Young said he has applied to become a member of the PNM party.
He has also accepted another temporary senatorial appointment to serve from March 29 to April 3, having previously served on March 15 to 22.
After graduating from the University of Nottingham where he obtained his bachelor of laws (LLB), Young has been practising law in T&T since 1998 after being called to the bar of England and Wales at Grey’s Inn in 1997. Fortunate to be given opportunity to work on high-profile cases:
• Represented former president ANR Robinson twice in impasse with former prime minister Basdeo Panday
• Piarco Commission of enquiry
• Clico/ HCU Commission of enquiry
• Advised former prime minister Patrick Manning during the attempt to impeach former CJ Sat Sharma
• Young was among the attorneys for ex-Udecott head Calder Hart and Udecott in the Commission of Enquiry into Udecott
• Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Company’s (eTeck) claim against former UTT chairman Ken Julien and directors
• Part of team repealing the smelter construction
50 per cent free legal work
Young said 50 per cent of his practice was pro bono work, and he held the strong belief that someone should use their talent for the betterment of society and help the less fortunate.