Financially independent Judiciary is needed
By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Tuesday, September 18 2012
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SECURE ESCORT: Magistrate Avason Quinlan gets her own police escort in the form of her husband, Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, as the...
PRESIDENT George Maxwell Richards believes the financial independence of the judiciary deserves priority as evidence suggested that this is a further and necessary stage in the development of the system, free of impedimenta.
Richards made the comment yesterday while delivering an address at the interfaith service to mark the ceremonial opening of the 2012-2013 law term at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-of- Spain. He said there have been times when the judiciary has had to sound the alarm in order to ensure the demarcation insulating itself from any other arm of governance remains intact.
“It is indeed an abiding charge to the judiciary that this bastion be not successfully assailed. It is in this context, one of the considerations that deserve priority is the financial independence of the Judiciary. I feel confident our country need have no fear regarding what we can look forward to, in the future, as long as we see to it that the freedoms we enjoy remain secure,” Richards said.
Among the congregation were Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Chief Justice Ivor Archie and members of the legal fraternity.
Richards suggested that those in leadership, including the law, must know the country is conscious and not passive about rights and responsibilities. Referring to worldwide reports, Richards noted that it is a far from perfect world of which TT is a part of. “We have not been insulated from many of the wrongs that are being perpetrated. Subtleties can be discerned which suggest that collective responsibility, where it is ordinarily expected, is being eschewed for the sake of self-interest and survival of the fittest is the order of the day,” Richards said.
As such, Richards said, the call to maintain or choose integrity is clear and it starts with the individual. He called on citizens to take responsibility for the place they occupy and for what they do in that place.
“But, our responsibility extends beyond ourselves to the collective of which we may be a part and we are all part of that community. We must be mindful also that we are not a world unto ourselves. TT must become known as a country to which jurisdictions all over the world look for decisions that have at their heart, the well being of human beings whose temporal fate rests in the hands of judges who are not infallible,” Richards added.
He further said the local bench must establish a reputation that judgements are about human development and the development of nations, in an interconnected world. Following the service yesterday, there was a street procession to the Hall of Justice.