Prime Minister Patrick Manning has admitted telling retired
Justice Ulric Cross that he had a complaint from Chief Magistrate
Sherman Mc Nicolls. Manning told Cross the Chief Justice tried
to influence Mc Nicolls in a criminal matter involving former
prime minister Basdeo Panday.
Attorneys for the PM filed an affidavit on Friday. In it,
they say Mannings statement to the mediators was done
under the confidentiality clauses contained in the mediation
agreement brokered between the CJ and the PM late last year.
In an affidavit in support of Manning, attorney Michael Quamina
argued that whatever was said in the mediation oath should
remain confidential. He pointed to the agreement, which reads,
The mediation process is confidential, and we undertake
to maintain confidentiality.
of you undertake to one another that you will similarly maintain
confidentiality in respect of all statements and matters arising
in or from the mediation, except of course so far as you need
to disclose such statements and matters in order to obtain
professional advice and to enforce any settlement agreement.
According to the affidavit, the agreement said: All
documents and statements, whether written or oral, produced
or made for the purpose of the mediation will not be admissible
or subject to discovery in any court or arbitration proceedings
that may subsequently take place.
The PMs attorneys are asking the court to strike out
several key parts of the CJs judicial review application
in which the CJ alleged bias on the part of the PM.
Quaminas affidavit is in support of the application
made by Mendes to have parts of the CJs affidavit struck
out from the proceedings.
Mendes is one of the attorneys representing the PM.
Mendes is also asking the court to deem inadmissible parts
of the CJs affidavit in which the PM allegedly told
Justice Cross that the CJ had to go because he tried to interfere
with a criminal matter involving Panday.
Mendes has argued that under the mediation proceedings, several
of the CJs allegations are inadmissible and are also
This is the latest development in the ongoing battle between
the Chief Justice and the Prime Minister.
It has been almost a year since the PM has written the President,
indicating there may be a reason to inquire into whether the
CJ ought to be removed from office.
In his affidavit, Quamina said he was informed by the PM that
his statements about the CJ were only made after getting the
assurance from Cross and another attorney that whatever he
(the PM) told them would be held in confidence. He said he
was shocked when he learnt that the CJ knew about it.