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Young leaves door open for Section 137
Whoever’s President must respond.
That’s the view from the Prime Minister’s Office as it presses for answers from the President on why Chief Justice Ivor Archie should be allowed six months sabbatical leave on a basis that doesn’t exist.
And if any “hurdles”have to be crossed and occasion arises for Section 137 of the Constitution - facilitating probe to ascertain whether a Chief Justice should be removed - Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will do what he’s called upon to, OPM spokesman Stuart Young has signalled.
In another chapter of controversy concerning Archie’s sabbatical, which has drawn outcry from judicial circles, Young said it seems there was agreement between Archie and President Anthony Carmona on the leave.
“So we’re asking the President to explain what’s going on, since that (sabbatical) term doesn’t exist for judicial officers in the Salaries Review Commission’s 98th report,” Young said during yesterday, post-Cabinet media briefing.
Carmona went to Miami on Tuesday and returns Sunday. Senate President Christine Kangaloo is acting as President.
Young yesterday confirmed there had been conversation at Cabinet on the controversy around Archie’s sabbatical. The leave was revealed earlier this week after Archie won his injunction against the Law Association.
Young said the PM became involved in the issue on Tuesday when he received a letter dated March 2 from Carmona which sought - under the consultative process - appointment of an acting Chief Justice. The letter asked whether Rowley had any objection to appointing Justice of Appeal Allan Mendonca as Chief Justice while Archie took sabbatical.
Young said Rowley subsequently wrote the President on Wednesday querying the basis for Archie’s sabbatical. He said Carmona’s letter suggested the SRC’s 98th report had a term for judicial officers to go on sabbatical leave. But he said the SRC makes recommendations which are laid in Parliament and can be rejected, modified or amended by Cabinet.
He said Rowley had immediately consulted the SRC’s 98th report, “but the report didn’t have it (sabbatical) as a recommendation for judicial officers.” He said the SRC had “something to the effect” it was suggested to the commission, which thought it was a good idea in principle that sabbatical be added to judicial officers’ terms.
“It wasn’t put forward by the SRC as a recommendation to be laid in Parliament and Cabinet deliberation,” Young said.
“So the PM asked President Carmona where did the issue of sabbatical arise and why was he being called about the consultative process to appoint an acting CJ, as there’s no basis upon which to have the sabbatical leave. There’s no such term.”
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