accusations continue to fly and no one is being spared.
It appears that as long as you differ with the views of
the members of the Executive or expose their impropriety,
you are subject to attack.
The matter that began as an issue concerning the Chief
Justice and his alleged conduct in two criminal prosecutions
has mushroomed into an unfolding drama that continues
to make headlines and raise eyebrows.
With limited information being placed in the public domain
and the deliberate attempt by some to encourage citizens
to determine the issues based on political allegiance,
the administration of justice is suffering one of the
worst blows that could ever have been imagined.
And who is to blame for all the hysteria and distrust
that abound in our society? Perhaps more importantly,
who is going to take responsibility to restore honesty,
integrity and decency in the administration of justice?
For those who believe that this too will pass and optimistically
predict that our nation will recover unharmed from the
present impasse, they are sadly mistaken.
This is not a simple issue involving alleged inappropriate
action. This is a matter that has proven that we live
in a petty society too immature to resolve issues in an
impartial and independent fashion.
What is worse is that those who hold high office have
given poor showings when called upon to perform making
the citizenry aware that there is a leadership crisis
in our country. And because of the sustained attack on
decent men and women there is a depletion of dependable
and reliable leaders.
So, in the midst of all the scandal, bacchanal and chaos,
to whom do we turn?
Letter by letter
The most recent controversy at the time of writing surrounds
correspondence sent by the Attorney General to Russell
Martineau, SC, accusing him of not exercising good judgment
by chairing the meeting of the Law Association last week.
In his opening salvo, the AG took the opportunity to indicate,
amongst other things, that his attendance at the annual
wine and cheese party was done in his capacity
as the titular head of the Bar and at great personal sacrifice.
Obviously, the AG is a man of all work and no play.
But of what relevance is his admission that as a private
practitioner he never enjoyed a good relationship with
the Law Association? If the association is too focused
on matters of pomp and ceremony, ritual and form, why
has the AG never suggested some topics for lively debate
and discussion by his professional colleagues?
For example, one issue which I would like to debate is
whether the legal profession ought to be divided once
again into barristers and solicitors.
What he really did
The AG stated in his letter that he was measured,
unmotivated by rancour and consistent with the highest
tradition of dignity required by my office, yet
much of the content of his correspondence was nothing
short of a personal attack on a man who by his conduct
has always been regarded as objective, independent and
competent in the exercise of his duties.
Mr Martineau has achieved greatness in his career and
has represented the State in several matters too numerous
In his profession, Mr Martineau is considered one of the
local legal luminaries who can be depended upon for fairness,
honesty, integrity and decency. Many junior and senior
lawyers would readily agree that Mr Martineau is not one
to flaunt his authority or behave inappropriately in any
It is my respectful view that the AG was wholly out of
place to suggest that Mr Martineau, by chairing the meeting
in his capacity as president of the Law Association, has
not set an example of impartiality and integrity particularly
to the younger members of the profession.
In fact, Mr Martineau is unquestionably a lawyer who leads
by example and is a fitting mentor for those who strive
to achieve excellence in the field of law. That he should
be targeted by the AG is a startling development that
must be monitored. The AG has definitely picked the wrong
person to engage in a war that he alone understands.
In his very concise and measured response, consistent
with his reputation to maintain dignity and the highest
traditions of the Bar, Mr Martineau has refused to
engage in any matter of personalities and to call into
question the integrity or bona fides of anyone.
If the AG took issue with Mr Martineau chairing the meeting
of the Law Association, then he should have handled the
situation in a different manner. Resorting to writing
in a personal and scathing tone suggests that the AG may
be suffering from a severe attack of the arrogance of
Why didnt the AG seek a private meeting with Mr
Martineau in order to raise his concerns and to satisfy
himself that his accusation was with merit?
Why use the public domain to engage in a debate which,
according to Mr Martineau, is sterile?
Or is it that the AG is a sore loser and still cannot
come to terms with the fact that the majority of lawyers
who attended the meeting voted in favour of the motion
to retain Senior Counsel to determine whether his comments
in an address to the nation amount to contempt of court?
One would have thought that the AG would have been disappointed
with the remarks of a Senior Counsel that those
south of the Caroni Bridge voted in a particular way
and would have dissociated himself from such a statement.
After all, that utterance is an insult to all intelligent
people from the southland who would have voted according
to conscious and not simply to win favours or get state
The AG should realise that he is not the only person who
is not afraid to say or do that which is required to be
said or done. But it is hoped that those who enter the
battlefield in defence of that which is right and noble
are not killed with the arrows of vengeance or the bullets