Supreme Court and magistrates courts judges may have received
an exemption from declaring their assets and liabilities under
the Integrity in Public Life Act, even though Government ministers
are required to do so.
Attorney General John Jeremie said yesterday that as far as
he knew, judges were supposed to be exempt from those listed
as people in public life under the act.
understanding is, although you will have to speak with the
Chief Justice on this, and you have to speak with the Integrity
Commission on this, my understanding is that an exemption
was granted for this year from filing, he said.
However, when contacted yesterday, the commissions registrar
Albert Atkins said he could not answer any question regarding
any exemptions for the judges.
The judiciarys acting court protocol and information
officer, Ted Joseph, was also contacted yesterday and asked
to confirm whether the exemption was granted, and if not,
whether the judges filed any declarations under the act.
Although Joseph said he would issue a response yesterday,
up to press time, none was received.
Last week, the commission said that Labour Minister Anthony
Roberts, and his predecessor, Point Fortin MP Larry Achong,
had failed to declare statements of registrable interests
for the year ended December 31, 2003.
However, the commission did not identify anyone else, including
judges, as having failed to file their declaration documents
Judges of the Supreme Court and magistrates courts sought
to be exempt from the Integrity of Life Act on the basis that
the relevant provisions of the act and of the Constitution,
as amended, are unconstitutional.
In the Senate on December 17, 2004, Jeremie said the Government
agreed the relevant positions were unconstitutional after
receiving advice from the Judicial and Legal Service Commission
chairman, and the Integrity Commission, among others.
Jeremie then said the Government would move quickly
to repeal the offending provisions of the legislation and
of the Constitution.
think we have drafted the legislation, but the legislation
is not yet complete, he said yesterday.
Government is committed to righting constitutional wrongs.