have always been a fierce defender of judicial independence,
I have never taken the view that I, or any other judge,
was a sacred cow. It was and is clear to me that through
personal management failures, to adopt the cliche, I bit
off far more than I could chew. That is my failure, for
which I am ultimately responsible.
Court Judge David Myers says he holds no animosity against
anyone and that he simply wants to leave the judiciary gracefully.
He also admits to having a series of outstanding judgments
and that if he had more time to do it over again he would
manage his time properly.
He was responding yesterday to an exclusive report in the
Sunday Guardian which stated that he had been asked to stop
sitting on cases until he had cleared a hefty list of outstanding
judgments. The story was written by editor of the Sunday
Guardian Sita Bridgemohan.
Following is Myers full response to the article.
I would be grateful if you could allow me to comment on
Ms Sita Bridgemohans column carried in todays
First, and by way of preliminary comment, though I spoke
to the Chief Justice (Ag.), and told him that I would be
writing to you, I did not discuss the contents of this letter
So, may I make it clear that nothing I say (or the fact
that I am saying anything at all) reflects official\judiciary
policy, or the judiciarys formal position.
Second, I was surprised at your columnists figure
for my outstanding judgments. Hers is the one that I saw
on a rough list presented to me by the Registrar of the
Supreme Court, at the request of the Chief Justice (Ag.)
about two weeks ago.
At the request of the Chief Justice (Ag), my secretary and
I went through it and checked it. We identified matters
in which I was awaiting further final submissions from attorneys,
and one in which I simply had no further part to play.
This removed some 15 matters from the rough list, a fact
which I communicated to the Chief Justices office,
at the Chief Justices request. Therefore, I cannot
think that the figure officially provided by the judiciary
in response to Mr Ramlogans application could have
been the figure reported by your columnist. However, I readily
accept that the figure is still hefty.
Third, it was reported in at least one daily newspaper in
September last year that I had resigned.
At the time, the judiciary did not clarify the position,
although I had not then resigned. This must have been clear
to that newspapers judiciary sources, as those sources
presumably read the private and confidential letter that
I had written to the substantive Chief Justice, both in
his capacity as Chief Justice and Chairman of the Judicial
and Legal Service Commission.
I had indicated to him that I had become miserable in my
job (not least because of the state of my work) and that
I wanted to discuss departing before the normal retirement
age. I was then uncertain whether I could retire early,
or whether I would have to resign. The Judicial and Legal
Service Commission (and the substantive Chief Justice) explained
things to me in an exchange of correspondence.
Once that had been clarified, I decided that I would not
provide the Judicial and Legal Service Commission with an
effective resignation date, until I had a better grip on
how much longer it would take me to complete my commitments.
I did give them an indication of October 2006 as my hoped
target date for completion of all matters.
Fourth, my commitments were not (and are not) confined simply
to outstanding judgments. I also had a large number, at
the time in excess of twenty-five, part-heards,
that is incomplete trials, together with other matters which
had already been fixed to start in front of me, but had
yet to start.
For example, when I was told in September 2005 that I should
stop doing new matters, I had already been rostered to sit
in Tobago. The substantive Chief Justice explained that
he preferred that I should not keep that commitment.
He was unable to find a judge to take my place, so I was
obliged to go to Tobago, where I had to start new matters,
some of which I finished, and four of which remain part-heard.
Three of them were and are substantial land matters.
I have also heard several matters which had previously been
given firm trial dates in front of me, a fact of which the
substantive Chief Justice would have been aware had he read
the newspapers over the past few weeks.
Therefore, it is simply inaccurate to say that I am being
paid for a period during which I have heard no new cases.
Further, and in any event, part-heard cases are still cases.
I have not simply been sitting at home writing judgments.
I estimate that to complete all my part-heard matters may
well involve somewhere between four and five sitting months.
Taking both my incomplete trials and written work into account,
I decided some two weeks ago to write to the Chief Justice
(Ag.) and provide him with an effective resignation date
of 31 October, 2007.
So, within a historically insignificant further period of
time, I will cease to be a problem.
Finally, while I have always been a fierce defender of judicial
independence, I have never taken the view that I, or any
other judge, was a sacred cow. It was and is clear to me
that through personal management failures, to adopt the
cliche, I bit off far more than I could chew. That is my
failure, for which I am ultimately responsible, whatever
the difficulties inherent in the lot of a Trinidad and Tobago
It is I who must do what I can to make things right by departing
early, but after I have completed my commitments.
David A Myers