Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has expressed pride in the election of retired Justice of Appeal Paula-Mae Weekes as this country’s first female president.
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Marcia scores third highest
A bat and ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
This is not a question from a primary school test but one of the questions in section A of the 2017 Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) examination administered on January 12 this year and which formed the basis for elevation of five people, including former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar, to the High Court.
The question was one of three in section A of the exam under the heading ‘Numerical Analysis’. Candidates were “reminded of the need to use proper language, correct spelling, standard grammar and orderly, legible and neat presentation” of their work.
The one-hour exam was part of what had been described by Chief Justice Ivor Archie as a “robust selection process by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.”
Of the five people who went through the process, Ayers-Caesar scored the third highest mark of 164.92. Jacqueline Wilson scored the highest mark of 175.53 while Kathy-Ann Waterman was next with 171.34. Kevin Ramcharan 158.90 and Avason Quinlan-Williams (155.49), wife of acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, were fourth and fifth respectively.
Ramcharan, Quinlan-Williams, Wilson and Waterman have all since been elevated to the High Court.
Other questions in Section A were: If it takes five machines five minutes to make five pipes, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 pipes? While the second question was: In a lake there is a patch of lily flowers. Every day the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake?
Section B of the exam, under the heading ‘General Knowledge’, asked about the Brexit Vote and the requirement of the UK government to give notice under Article 50 of the Treaty to withdraw from the European Union. An action was instituted seeking an order to prevent the government from giving notice under article 50.
Applicants were asked whether they read the case in question, what was the main legal issue raised by the Secretary of State and what was the decision of the court.
The third section of the exam was titled Case Study. Applicants were asked to determine a case involving a 42-year-old salesman who instituted proceedings against a woman whom he met outside KFC in Arima and whom he offered a ride home. Based on their conversation he offered her $25,000 to complete her home which was under construction. He alleged that she refused to repay the loan when the building was completed.
Applicants were asked to study the details of the case and make their findings of fact and state the reasons for their conclusion.
The objective, according to the test document, was to observe their “clarity of expression, analytical powers and assessment of the evidence in arriving at their decision.”
The details of the judicial examination were released by the Judiciary in compliance with an application under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from United National Congress Senator Wayne Sturge.
Sturge had written to the Judiciary under the (FOIA) to get a copy of the examination for individuals who applied for the position of Puisne Judge, information on who set the examination, the names of applicants who wrote the examination and a list of the marks awarded to each person who wrote the examination by each member of the commission.
The details of the test were sent to Sturge’s attorney, Gerald Ramdeen, by attorney for the JLSC, Ian Roach, by letter dated June 8, 2017.
The JLSC, through Roach, said the information relating to the scores of the successful judges was being released under Section 3 of the FOIA, and cannot now reasonably claim that their names and examination scores constitute personal information.
Ramdeen said the test “shows that the body of persons who are constitutionally tasked with advising His Excellency (Anthony Carmona) as to the suitability of persons for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court are prepared in the discharge of their function to copy questions from the internet and use that as the examination for persons who have applied for such positions.
“It clearly demonstrates a lack of constitutional responsibility to the people of this country.”
The exam was set by CJ Archie in his capacity as JLSC chairman, members Justices Roger Hamel-Smith, Humphrey Stollmeyer and the acting chairperson of the Public Service Commission Parvatee Anmolsingh-Mahabir, who also marked the examination.
However, the Judiciary has refused to reveal information relating to applicants who failed to make the cut to sit on the bench, saying it needed to protect such applicants “from reputational damage and any slur from not being selected, which may cause embarrassment and affect his or her standing among colleagues and even clients.”
HOW THEY SCORED
Jacqueline Wilson—175.53 marks