The matter involving Attorney General Reginald Armour has now taken on political overtones and one hopes this serious matter will not evolve further into a political circus. On Monday, acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert, holding on in the absence of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, easily dismissed Opposition questions in the Parliament over his disqualification from the Piarco International Airport civil matter in the United States.
Furthermore, not even a vote of no-confidence against him and an Opposition walkout when he was set to speak, prompted AG Armour to break his silence on the allegation he told an untruth in a sworn affidavit in the Miami court.
The Opposition has cited what it claims is clear evidence of Mr Armour’s unethical behaviour in its argument of his unsuitability to hold office any further. But the truth is that the public is no wiser on the matter save what has been reported in the media, since the AG himself has given very little details than, using the cloak of an appeal of the matter as his defence.
Yesterday, Mr Armour left the country on ‘official business’ until June 16 but there was no indication what the business was.
While Mr Armour remains mum on allegations he perjured himself in a foreign court, the Law Association he once headed yesterday sought more information on the US court proceedings as local attorneys raised more questions on the issue during a monthly statutory meeting, even as some of them were reportedly contemplating a petition calling for a vote of no-confidence in the AG.
The reality is that the allegations, vote of no-confidence in both Houses by the Opposition and rumblings within the Law Association have done enough harm to the Office of Attorney General, whether Mr Armour is willing to admit it or not.
In Florida, the offence of perjury in an official proceeding is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
It means that if, in fact, the AG did perjure himself as is being alleged, the matter could go into a different realm if the US court takes it further.
While one can understand that the Prime Minister and AG may have to meet, talk and seek legal advice on the issue, then there is something to be concerned about and silence should not be an option.
To say the unfolding scenario is unacceptable is putting it mildly. We make no judgement on this but in the interest of the country and the oath the AG took to uphold the Constitution and the law without fear or favour, it is imperative the country gets the facts about this matter.
To be clear the issue is not Mr Armour’s disqualification by the Miami court because he was part of a legal team who represented two defendants in the Piarco Airport criminal matter years ago, but rather whether as Attorney General, he spoke an untruth in an affidavit.
It is this allegation which concerns citizens and if, in fact, it is true, whether Mr Armour will still have the moral authority to continue to serve as the titular head of the bar in Trinidad and Tobago will come to the fore. It is, however, time to stop the circus and ensure the people of this country get the answers.