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Dissident LATT attorney: I trust Sturge’s political acumen AND support Armour

Attorney Jonathan Bhagan, one of 30 signatories on a no confidence motion against Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Reginald Armour SC and vice-president Gerry Brooks, confirmed today that he was not misled into signing the controversial requisition by UNC Senator Wayne Sturge.

“Mr Sturge did not attempt to mislead me in any way despite allegations from other signatories that they were mislead,” said Bhagan, via a media statement. “I placed trust in Mr Sturge’s political acumen that such a move was necessary to bring certain issues to light in order to preserve the fabric of our democracy.”

Photo: UNC Senator and attorney Wayne Sturge.
Photo: UNC Senator and attorney Wayne Sturge.

However, Bhagan simultaneously claimed to “full confidence” in Armour’s leadership of the LATT. His statement, which was emailed to the media, was ostensibly meant to clarify his role in the motion that was quashed yesterday at a special general meeting without even getting off the ground.

The requisition, which was served to the LATT council on 30 June 2016, had two parts:

  1. To call upon the President of the Law Association Mr Reginald Armour SC and the Vice President Mr Gerry Brooks to disclose to the members of the Law Association whether any substantive position was articulated to the Honourable Attorney General Mr Faris Al-Rawi, MP on behalf of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago regarding the Strategic Services Agency (Amendment) Bill 2016 and if so what was articulated to the Honourable Attorney General? And if not, why not?
  2. To move a motion for a vote of No Confidence in the President of the Law Association Mr Reginald Armour S.C. and the Vice President Mr Gerry Brooks for failing to consult with the membership of the Law Association to obtain its views on the Strategic Services Agency (Amendment) Bill 2016 prior to meeting with the Honourable Attorney General being a Bill of grave public importance regarding the constitutional rights of citizens.

However, the LATT pointed out that its response to the SSA Bill was guided by research from committee members Ravi Rajcoomar and Rishi Dass on 11 April and discussed in a Council meeting on 12 April while, after meeting Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, Armour and Brooks reported back to its executive members on 14 April and 10 May.

Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Reginald Armour SC talks at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016. (Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)
Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Reginald Armour SC talks at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016.
(Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)

The Law Association’s response and the publication of the unhappy attorneys saw 12 of the original 30 signatories officially abandon the motion—and at least nine attorneys claimed to have been misled by Sturge.

The attorneys who abandoned the requisition are: Ravi Rajcoomar, Alisa Khan, Shivana Nath, Irshaad Ali, Adam Razack, Shivonne Francis, Indarjit Seuraj, Seana Baboolal, Brent Hallpike, Makeda Browne-Alfred, Jerry Lee Ramkissoon-David and UNC legal advisor Collin Partap.

The attorneys who have not distanced themselves from the controversial motion are:

Wayne Sturge, Alexia Romero, Joseph Sookoo, Danielle Rampersad, Kevin Lewis, Shirvani Ramkissoon, Abigail Roach-Thomas, Shanice Edwards, Jonathan Bhagan, Devesh Ramdeo, Jennifer Rogers, Alvin Pariagsingh, Jayanti Lutchmedial, Anand Ramlogan, Kent Samlal, Douglas Bayley and Gerald Ian Ramdeen.

Neither Sturge nor fellow UNC Senator Gerald Ramdeen defended the requisition at yesterday’s LATT special general meeting while fellow instigators, ex-Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and ex-UNC Senator Robin Montano, stayed away.

Photo: Former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. (Courtesy HeritageRadioTT)
Photo: Former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
(Courtesy HeritageRadioTT)

Bhagan was absent too but he explained that his absence was due to his bout with the Zika virus and he stood by his initial position. Yet, paradoxically, he claimed to be “assured” that the motion failed.

“I signed the petition with full knowledge of its contents, however I did orally express a reservation to Mr Wayne Sturge that Mr Armour, SC had not done anything to warrant a motion of no confidence,” said Bhagan. “(…) I had noted the withdrawals from the motion of no confidence and I felt assured that even in my absence, the motion would fail.

“I was also recovering from symptoms associated with the Zika virus and did not consider it expedient to attend the meeting.

“I was, however, encouraged by my colleagues in the legal fraternity, and motivated by my good conscience, to release a clarifying statement, due to the seriousness of the matter at hand.”

Bhagan attempted to explain his apparent contradiction by claiming that his support for the requisition, which included a no confidence motion, was his way of encouraging debate on the SSA Bill.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attorney Jonathan Bhagan.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attorney Jonathan Bhagan.

“I had hoped that it would result in a debate on the implications of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 and the way it impacted the constitutional rights of Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens.

“I am of the firm view that such legislation can only be justifiable in Trinidad and Tobago if the Police Service and National Security apparatus undergo adequate reform. Further, I believe that the oversight of an independent body would be necessary to prevent manipulation and political victimisation by the Executive.”

Bhagan, like Sturge, claimed that his mind was put at ease following a release by the Law Association on 19 July. He did not offer comment on LATT’s statement that it discussed the matter with its Council on12 April and reported back to the body on 14 April and 10 May—almost two months before the requisition was put forward.

“A statement was subsequently released by the Law Association on 19 July via email regarding consultation on the SSA Bill,” stated Bhagan. “This statement satisfied me that the Law Association President and Vice President took the necessary steps to advise the Honourable Attorney General about issues regarding the failure of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 to properly insulate the SSA from potential manipulation by the Executive.”

Bhagan, who described Armour as a leader that demonstrated the greatest integrity, said he hoped for “peace and camaraderie” within the legal fraternity, as well full respect for freedom of thought and expression. He said he attempted to reach the Law Association President to personally explain his position on the requisition.

However, according to Bhagan, “the email was returned to my inbox unsent.”

Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Reginald Armour SC (centre) meets and greets at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016. (Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)
Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Reginald Armour SC (centre) meets and greets at the Transparency Institute anti-corruption conference on 8 March 2016.
(Copyright Shaun Rambaran/forge.co.tt)

The following is the full statement from attorney Jonathan Bhagan:

Dear colleagues and esteemed members of the Bar,

This correspondence serves to clarify my position on the motion of no confidence raised against Mr Reginald Armour, SC and to explain my absence from the meeting, held on July 25th, 2016 as a result of same.

I signed the petition with full knowledge of its contents, however I did orally express a reservation to Mr Wayne Sturge that Mr Armour, SC had not done anything to warrant a motion of no confidence. Mr Sturge did not attempt to mislead me in any way despite allegations from other signatories that they were mislead. I placed trust in Mr Sturge’s political acumen that such a move was necessary to bring certain issues to light in order to preserve the fabric of our democracy.

Subsequent to my signing of the petition, I had attempted to contact Mr Armour via his personal Marie De Vere email address, to explain why I had signed, but due to unknown technical problems, the email was returned to my inbox unsent.

My deep interest in human rights advocacy and work with civil society had guided my decision to sign the aforementioned petition, as I had hoped that it would result in a debate on the implications of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 and the way it impacted the constitutional rights of Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens.

Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
Photo: Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

I am of the firm view that such legislation can only be justifiable in Trinidad and Tobago if the Police Service and National Security apparatus undergo adequate reform. Further, I believe that the oversight of an independent body would be necessary to prevent manipulation and political victimisation by the Executive.

Given global political instabilities, the crime situation and the large number of Trinidad and Tobago Citizens who have joined international terrorist organisations I considered the very real possibility of Trinidad and Tobago devolving into a police state with serious infringements on human rights becoming the norm.

A statement was subsequently released by the Law Association on 19 July via email regarding consultation on the SSA Bill. This statement satisfied me that the Law Association President and Vice President took the necessary steps to advise the Honourable Attorney General about issues regarding the failure of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 to properly insulate the SSA from potential manipulation by the Executive.

Given the fact that the SSA Amendment Bill had already been passed by the Parliament and assented to by the President I did not consider any contribution I could make at the Special General Meeting significant. I had been satisfied by the statement released by the Law Association on 19 July that the President and Vice President of the Law Association had done their due diligence and thus I had no major concerns to ventilate at the meeting.

Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago vice-president Gerry Brooks. (Copyright NGC)
Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago vice-president Gerry Brooks.
(Copyright NGC)

I had noted the withdrawals from the motion of no confidence and I felt assured that even in my absence, the motion would fail. I was also recovering from symptoms associated with the Zika virus and did not consider it expedient to attend the meeting.

I was, however, encouraged by my colleagues in the legal fraternity, and motivated by my good conscience, to release a clarifying statement, due to the seriousness of the matter at hand.

I apologise to the President and Vice-President of the Law Association for any inconvenience caused by my absence and in closing, express my full confidence in Mr Armour SC to lead the Law Association, as he has always demonstrated the greatest integrity.

I hope that despite the confusion that ensued, the Law Association can take this opportunity to repair divisions between the ranks of its membership and maintain peace and camaraderie.

I also hope that we maintain a society that has full respect for the right to Freedom of Thought and Expression as enshrined in our constitution. Despite the chaos that ensued as a result of this motion it shows that the Law Association remains a fundamental component of our democracy by permitting its members to express their concerns freely.

Regards,

Jonathan Bhagan,

Attorney At Law

 

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Bhagan requested, after Wired868’s publication of his letter, that—since the story is already published and will not be taken down—republication should be discouraged on advice of legal counsel.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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258 comments

  1. I have had a look at the letters (copies provided by Rhoda Bharath)sent by various attorneys but I have not seen a copy of the original petition. They make me wonder though whether the item describing the ‘no confidence’ motion was on a separate page which was inserted after the signatures were collected? This could explain why they were unaware of the NC motion and would certainly raise a whole lot of other issues.

  2. It is time to further Amend the Legal Profession Act Chap 90:03. It is my opinion as an average citizen that once you hold the office of President of LATT, you should have no political affiliation.

  3. I have my doubts that the procedure to get the membership together to debate an issue is to call for a vote of no-confidence of the top executives. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Serious questions raised as to his decision making abilities. The wording of the petition is clear so I am rather curious as to the exact mechanisms employed on the misled.

  4. I doh even wah he in a cuss case, he go wah me to plead guilty for wounding, in that cuss case.

  5. Hmmmm. Anyone who starts a sentence with “I trust Wayne Sturge” is not the sharpest tool in the box. You can dress it up however you want. But that dress have holes and you also need a half-of-slip. ??

  6. Lawyers who don’t do due diligence. Hmmmm….

  7. Why allyuh acting surprised? From his vlogs, he has proven time and time again that he isn’t the sharpest tool in the proverbial shed.

  8. Anybody else noticed that the date on those letters [from the attorneys who abandoned the requisition] posted by RhodaBharath is before the actual meeting?

  9. This is the longest discussion about a social committee I have ever seen!

  10. I blame the Zika for the BS he wrote

  11. They were trying to make Reginald Armour came out fresh as a sweet red Rose,but they came out as withered red old red rose to throw out in the thrash,you all should be looking for a game warden work INstead of looking to defend citizens,you all game did not pay off it back fire Always say some of does play mass and afraid to get powder,but always know mass playing prize is either powder or mud

  12. Are we saying this is the argument that will kill GATE lol

  13. I wish someone would post a copy of the original document they signed

  14. ..all I would say as a Bush Lawyer…..is .I’m surprised that after all that education I think GATE is the problem……..Dotishness…all kind ah excuse from them now……They didn’t see and the didn’t now….

  15. until they make it fair to the clients -that lawyers only get paid if they win the case – I cannot take anything issue they have seriously

  16. Ok now I confused I lost please I don’t speak lawyer speak. Could you all update me

  17. I wish Ms Babolal would expound to us what she understood by the 2nd point of the motion presented to her for signature.

  18. When I read this part “However, according to Bhagan, “the email was returned to my inbox unsent.”” it explained a lot.. have never seen a sent email return unspent in my life, but I guess there is a first time for everything. It won’t be the first time someone, normally of the spineless variety, has been on both sides of an issue though..

    • Earl Best

      “…normally of the spineless variety…”

      Talk about economy of language, the pen being mightier than the sword! In five words, you have said what 200+ other comments were reaching for-or should have been reaching for..

  19. “I hope that despite the confusion that ensued, the Law Association can take this opportunity to repair divisions between the ranks of its membership and maintain peace and camaraderie.” Like Seriously.
    Eeediaat! Pulllllaeeeeeeze. Him must think say everybody a eeediaat like him.

  20. So you trust someone’s acumen, consequently you signed a document without first researching the reason for the “vote of no confidence”, a decision to remove two top officials of the Law Association from office…makes me wonder about legal representation in T&T.

  21. You will need to add them to the group under the Members column in the top right hand panel Jeaux Marie. 😉

  22. 2 questions. .what’s the membership of the LATT? .. 60?.

    How can 30 signiture trigger a meeting?
    2. How can one not be financial and practice? ..or is it Montano isn’t practicing?

    • The LPA states that 25 signatures needed to trigger a motion Lynch.
      You do not need to be in good financial standing with LATT to practise law in Trinidad.

      • Technically speaking, that is not true, the Act and the Code of Ethics makes it perfectly clear that an Attorney who is not in possession of his Practising certificate is NOT entitled to practise law. It’s professional misconduct

    • Lord have mercy… so 25 troublemakers could trigger a meeting every week?

    • Btw.. it’s the same with medicine. .. i was ashamed when I learnt u need not pay your medical board registration to practice. .ashamed…

    • 25 signatures with respect to calling the special meeting and the motion. I don’t know the LPA intimately. There may be different provisions for other things.

    • Shaun Lynch…I think I posted a judgment a while ago from the Industrial Court. I would be concerned too, but if I recollect correctly, the Medical Board is for Doctors and not Specialists, so I believe there is no requirement for them to register cause there is no body to register with! I am subject to correction though.
      On the issue of the LATT, I am curious-is the answer yes or no for non-financial members to practice. And what does ‘practice’ mean? You do not go to Court if you are a non-financial member but you can do the administrative work?

    • Lol…worst than that Nerisha Mohammed… there is no specialist register in trinidad and Tobago despite the act to create one being passed in 2007.
      Since 2007 we have not come up with the criteria to be part of such. .IMO DELIBERATELY so by some whose interest is to have it this way so they can continue pretending to be specialist. I was part of a sub committee recently that came up wit such criteria and submitted to council who has circulated just yesterday I heard. Don’t know if it has been circulated for comment or if they have accepted as the final criteria but at least we seem near to resolving this embarrassing issue

  23. I don’t think Bhagan’s situation can be compared to that of a coup leader. But ok

    • Hahaha. I think you have a point- I have no good answer to that. But even belligerence can sometimes be forgiven. I’m beginning to feel dizzy, like I may have walked through the logic in the letter.

    • Breathe Justin Phelps. It may be that the server down and the email didnt get sent.

      Which, by the way, Lasana Liburd is the other huge leap of logic for me in his explanation…he didnt get a response to the unsent email and so signed the requisition?
      Really?
      Did a black cat just walk past me twice?

    • Live and let live yes. What worries me is that the LATT now has on record allegations that lawyers misled lawyers, which I think is a far more serious issue than this.

    • This is actually part of that far more serious issue. The things are not separate at all.

      A man’s political acumen convinced a lawyer to sign a document that said the LATT executive misled the membership.

      The LATT experienced a failed coup d’etat…and Bhagan’s response explains why he chose to participate in it. Useful for understanding the wider issue.

    • What I’m seeing here is a man holding belief in personalities

      Many of us make the same mistake

    • No- my concern is limited to the allegations made by the lawyers who withdrew support for the requisition, on the ground that they were misled into signing it.

    • Did they sign before the LATT release on the meeting with the AG?

    • The rest is a sideshow as far as I’m concerned. A confusing letter from one participant who says he wasn’t misled. The meat of the thing is the serious allegations by those who say they were misled. That’s professional misconduct if the allegations are true. We don’t want to be distracted by personalities, do we..,

    • That’s essentially 2 letters. The one signed by Partap et al claims they were misled. Bhagan, as someone who didnt show up to support the motion he added his signature to, is saying he wasn’t misled. Another piece to the puzzle that is this motion.
      Is it that only some were misled and others weren’t? If so what determined who would be misled and who was not?

      Where we differ is that you see parts of this as a sideshow and I see all of it as integral to the entire plot.

    • Justin, can Bhagan’s letter not be seen as part of Sturge’s defence that he misled nobody?
      I think this release is certainly part of the fabric of this story.
      The suggestion is: We were not misled, we just trusted Sturge blindly.

    • So far, the only member of the dissident 17 to attempt an explanation is Bhagan. The more I think about it, the more important I think the letter is.

    • Lasana Liburd, is Sturge saying he wrote the letter?

    • No. Two things I think we confusing here. It cannot be disputed that there was a politically motivated and baseless effort to remove the Pres and VP. That failed. The public can make up its mind about that. The second issue, which is the one that worries me is that lawyers have alleged they were misled. That’s a serious allegation that is unresolved.

    • Rhoda, no. But Sturge suggested that his “co conspirators” capitulated yesterday.
      I think Bhagan’s letter continues along that path. It is consistent with Sturge’s position.

    • I don’t think Bhagan’s letter can erase the allegations made by the other lawyers. He may not have been misled, but they’re saying they were.

    • Justin, one of the 17 lawyers said he wasn’t misled. Isn’t that relevant to the question of whether any of the 30 were misled?

      • Since July 9th, Bhagan said on Facebook that he signed the requisition with the oral reservation to Mr Sturge that he did not agree that the second part of the requisition was necessary. Whether this was sufficient is another issue. The point is (1) to me this does not exonerate Sturge at all… There was no record of this reservation in the notice to the LATT, and (2) it suggests that Mr Bhagan’s letter was not written with the purpose of giving Sturge’s story credence

    • It will be interesting to hear what about their approach to Bhagan was different to their approach to the other two dozen lawyers.

    • What if the other 16 say they weren’t misled either?

    • Now I feel like I need to interview Robin or Sturge again…

    • No. As far as I’m concerned it’s irrelevant. What had to happen is that the allegations have to be inquired into. I think there’s some confusion on the facts here, that if resolved may clear up the difference- it is not my understanding that these 30 gathered together at the same time and in the same and signed. They were approached seperately. So if Bhagan is not alleging he was misled, so be it. But others say they were

    • You all are making me feel like I mad. Didn’t they already say they were misled ?

    • Justin Phelps they said that what they signed is not what they thought they were signing. At yesterday’s meeting lawyers spoke about signing a document they didn’t read.
      Bhagan is claiming he read the document, didn’t agree with all of it, but signed it nonetheless.

      If The 12 didn’t read, can they truly claim to have been misled?

      I think Bhagan’s letter is important for building a defense for those accused of misleading.

    • Bhagan’s statement that he wasn’t misled could never be a Defence to other people saying they were.

    • In short….how are they defining being misled? We’re they given a different document to sign? Did they sign a blank signature page that was then affixed to a document? We’re they told one thing orally and then given a different thing scribally?
      Did all 12 not read the document while 17 did?

    • How are The 12 defining misled?

    • I have no idea. All I know is that there are claims that what was represented to them was different to what the document actually said. That’s enough in my view to warrant an investigation.

    • Justin Phelps let me ask you this…if you were doing up a legal document for me, told me the gist of the document, brought it for me to sign, and I sign it without reading the entire thing and understanding all that I am signing off on, who is at fault and what are the penalties?

    • That question covers too large an area of law for me to answer with any precision here. The easier question, and more apt according to my understanding, is if I misrepresented to you that a document said something which it did not say. The fault is mine, the penalty is up to the Disciplinary Committee

    • Justin Phelps so I am not obligated to read the document? I can sign it and say, “well Phelps tell me so and so is the case and I sign it”?

    • Absolutely. As a husband might do to a wife-there would be a relationship of trust, they weren’t representing clients here. It would amount to misconduct.

    • But we so fixated on Bhagan , that the larger issue isn’t being canvassed. If that’s what happened (and that’s the suggestion that has been made) the public should be concerned that it’s investigated.

    • Justin Phelps was Montano et al functioning as the lawyers to the 29? Were they advising them professionally in drawing up the petition and requesting their signature?

    • Justin Phelps it is possible for me to be fixated on numerous things at the same time. #llowmeh

    • That’s you, but what about my own limitations?

    • I will let you and God work that out, dear.

    • As for who was advising and who procured the signatures- I have no idea.

    • Well I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of it. I understand a letter was written in which language to the effect that the signatories had been misled was used, and that letter I think, should be made public.

    • Justin Phelps Partap ignoring me….

    • Congrats, you deserve a break

    • Justin Phelps you see you! I need enemies, oui. My friends dangerous.

    • It have people I call hoping they don’t answer

    • How we reach to discussing your fetishes?

    • Hahahaha- I too old for fetishes

    • Lemme hush, eh. You is meh fwen.

    • But the lady calling the votes at the DNC could make me change meh mind

    • Now I have to check her picture to see who making Justin’s Saul into Paul…

    • You are correct. It cannot be. It shouldnt be. The same way I am struggling to see the correlation between application of weak logic to a legal issue and engaging in charitable works.

    • That same charitable works argument was used often by supporters of Kriyaan Singh to excuse a lot of his offensive behaviour. As if there is a dots and merit system attached.
      So for every time he uses the word Negro or calls a journalist a jamette he just needs to feed or rescue two shelter animals and he square.

      In Bhagan’s case he was part of a group whose actions could easily have weakened, if not, toppled, another institution here and his reasoning for it is far from solid. But I suspect if he drop off some hot lunches at Tamarind Square his account will be back at zero.

      I. Unable. To. Can.

    • It’s the premise of your statement that justifies it- and the premise is (in the case of my comment) wrong. I never used charitable efforts to justify anything. I made it clear I didn’t understand the letter. There’s a converse point though- that people would want to ignore good efforts in order to justify personal attacks, rather than assess a thing as an issue. I think the point of mentioning someone’s good deeds is to weigh whether there’s any basis for questioning their integrity, motives and so on. Not to defend what can’t be defended.

    • I need to start to tally my good deeds publicly. Maybe start a NGO.

    • That’s a very Trinidadian thing to do, you won’t stand out

    • These days I trying to figure out how to fit in, Justin Phelps. So thanks for the advice.

    • At least was clear and unequivocal, good thing wasn’t legal advice

    • Justin, I don’t see the relevance personally. “He shot a man but he was a good neighbour.”
      Well, we are glad that such and such was a good neighbour. But it doesn’t affect his murder case.
      I am not saying that I have any issue with you or anyone else pointing out what good social work Sturge did. Or Bhagan. Or anyone else.
      But it shouldn’t be a shield against legitimate criticism on another point altogether.

    • I wouldn’t ever ask you to give me legal advice publicly, Justin Phelps. I value the friendship too much.

    • Lasana Liburd…Bhagan’s good works as relevant to the writing of the letter as Alton Sterling’s criminal record was to his shooting and murder.

      In short…we on shit.

      The letter should be dealt with specifically in the context of the motion against the LATT.
      And it makes no sense.
      What anything else Bhagan does has to do with it baffles me.

    • Lasana Liburd I think it is relevant, in law, as a mitigating factor, but that’s not my field. On the issue we are discussing, I think it’s relevant as I said, in weighing what a mans motivation was. It’s clear in the case of many of the others here that the objective was political. In the case of this one, he seems to voluntarily chosen to separate himself with this letter, and as an interested observer, I think I can take other features of his character into account in deciding whether this was an error of judgment or mischief-making.

    • You realise Justin that he specifically credited the political acumen of one of the instigators of the requisition?
      How does that square with your notion that he was the only lawyer (or one of the few) who did not have a political objective?

    • And note too Justin that he never said he did anything wrong at any point. He justified every decision.
      Do you think he erred somewhere here?

    • That’s what I find difficult. I would’ve thought I’d he was politically motivated he would’ve just remained silent like the rest of them. He seems to say he trusted Sturges political acumen in the need for a no confidence to get a debate on the SSA.

    • He trusts his political acumen, not his legal acumen, on a legislative matter.

    • Gymnastics isn’t my sport Justin. Lol

    • Pity Lasana Liburd…I’d pay money to see you do a floor routine.

    • He clearly erred – my original comment suggested that he should’ve asked for a requisition seeking only the SSA portion. But it’s important in this town to know if errors are errors or more sinister. I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for two reasons- his other work shows good intent, and he seems to have separated himself from the pack. Perhaps I’m wrong, time will tell.

    • Personally Justin, I don’t give people the benefit of the doubt when–rather than ask for it–they try to convince why they were actually right.
      His stance seems to be he was right to back Sturge, even though he was rooting for Armour and he did nothing wrong in sending the release even though he would like it to be taken down.
      Did I summarise that well?

    • Justin Phelps I find it hard to believe that lawyers are going to sign something without reading the document first (if that is in fact true, i real worried for the law profession in Trinidad)

    • It is worrying. The one group of people that should be scrutinising what they sign. So, their excuse for not being politically vindictive, is that they’re incompetent?

    • That’s for the 12. Bhagan, well… No words for his amazing logic.

  24. Billionaires vs millionaires (who wanna be billionaires)..NEXT

  25. Tomorrow morning we will hear Abu Bakr discuss all of the good he doing for the youth in his community these past years.

  26. Jonathan Bhagan stay strong, you’ve been doing good work elsewhere for the country’s benefit. Mistakes happen. I don’t understand your letter-but I think you may have wanted the thing redone to include only the first portion.

  27. Mr Liburd there’s a note at the end of the letter that says it was sent-for publication-to media.

    • It was sent to all media houses for publication Justin Phelps. Bhagan then had a change of heart after it was already published. It might be that I haven’t edited the story to fully reflect his change of heart. I’m not at my computer and won’t be until this evening.
      Our position is that we would set a dangerous precedent by taking down published stories for anyone for anything but the most dire reasons or libel.

    • I think what I was trying to say is there’s no basis for any effort to stop its republication

  28. Two words: excuses and incompetence.

  29. Boy GATE can’t be for everybody some people need a critical thinking test.

  30. Editor’s Note: Jonathan Bhagan requested, after Wired868’s publication of his letter, that—since the story is already published and will not be taken down—republication should be prohibited on advice of legal counsel.

  31. I was thinking the Zika did something to him, smh

  32. What dotishness Bhagan talking?
    Like the ZIKA virus attack his brain!

  33. That’s what he needed lol a button to tell him it’s a…….. There is a saying if you don’t stand for what is right then you will fall for anything. Just remember that in your though process.

  34. This boy is a kind a ass awa? All of them who bring that motion i hope people remember their names and black list them trouble makers and puppets.

  35. You trust Sturge because you is a damn UNC.

  36. It’s like testifying in court that yes I drove my masked friends to the bank, but they assured me the air condition in there is always turned up too high!

  37. Rhoda Bharath, when you asked Montano yesterday on air whether he was a financial member of the LATT, he lied and said “yes”.

  38. I was going and stay quiet inno…but is the way these lawyers feel all Trinis who not in the profession is ass.

  39. Rhoda I just glad I eh give you no chance tuh shit mih up ……. yet!

  40. Yes, yes, that’s sounds about right ?

  41. The irony and the oxymoron?

  42. I was about to say that from my knowledge of Jonathan I have no doubt that he would have no reservations about accepting his signing of that document based largely on his belief in Sturge’s honor to be irresistible.
    But then the ironi dawned upon me!

  43. And considering that Robin Montano has publicly claimed he wrote the requisition letter…because his phones were tapped and he wanted answers…how exactly is your support and signing of the letter on the basis of Sturge’s acumen, Jonathan Bhagan?

  44. If that letter could quantify as manure, the Sahara would be fertile again. Big. Wet. Steups.
    You have reservations about part of an issue but sign off on it fully?
    And then the email didnt go through and the dog ate the homework and blah blah blah.
    #MissMeWithTheBS.

  45. Political acumen of Wayne Sturge? Really? #gullibleMUCH

  46. He is a contradiction unto himself. And the fact that he says he trusts in the political acumen of Mr Sturge( what manner of person follows this clown politically) and was never misled into signing up to oppose someone he says he respects and believe in speaks volumes as to his state of mind. People like these are very dangerous. They do things just because………..

  47. I’m glad that Jonathan said his piece because, while I understand where he’s coming from, wasn’t there ANY OTHER MEANS for this discussion to have come up? It’s like he got the choice to put his head or his tail in the mousetrap, fully knowing that the end game is being in the trap.
    I hate to say it, but this looks bad, but I can only talk from my limited scope.
    Wasn’t there a mechanism where he could’ve raised it DURING the motion’s deliberations so that at least some consensus could be reached by EVERYONE so Jonathan could keep his head and tail outside the trap?

  48. My grandmother used to say that “Anand and Sturge will kery yuh, buh dey wouldn bring yuh back”.

    Well maybe not my grandmother, but ah sure somebody grandmother say it!

  49. This person demonstrates the right skills to be an attorney-at-law. See if u can figure out what those are and decide for yourself if that is a good thing ?

  50. i warned you bro. dont drink from the poisoned chalice that is party politics masquerading as law association business

  51. Jonathan Bhagan, why did you sign a document that you didn’t agree to (in its entirety)?
    If someone offered me a cup of hot chocolate and a slap, I wouldn’t agree on the grounds that I like hot chocolate.

  52. Bookmarking this one too….the remaining 13 lawyers are on my black list.
    His purpose may be laudable but agreeing to do something so OBVIOUSLY heavy-loaded just to get that discussion across (save that he was absent where those were discussed, if at all) si a bit disingenuous in my view.
    You can’t say you want to have a (sort-of national) coup ONLY to open a (talk) shop where you want. That makes no sense, sir.

  53. To clarify i agreed with the first part of the requisition , calling for disclosure RE: SSA Amendment bill and any position articulated to the AG.

    I didn’t agree with the second part RE: Motion of no confidence.

    The full text of my letter is here.

    Re: Statement regarding the Law Association Special General Meeting Dated July 25th, 2016

    Dear colleagues and esteemed members of the Bar,

    This correspondence serves to clarify my position on the motion of no confidence raised against Mr. Reginald Armour, S.C. and to explain my absence from the meeting, held on July 25th, 2016 as a result of same.

    I signed the petition with full knowledge of its contents, however I did orally express a reservation to Mr. Wayne Sturge that Mr. Armour, S.C. had not done anything to warrant a motion of no confidence. Mr. Sturge did not attempt to mislead me in any way despite allegations from other signatories that they were mislead. I placed trust in Mr. Sturge’s political acumen that such a move was necessary to bring certain issues to light in order to preserve the fabric of our democracy.

    Subsequent to my signing of the petition, I had attempted to contact Mr. Armour via his personal Marie De Vere email address, to explain why I had signed, but due to unknown technical problems, the email was returned to my inbox unsent.

    My deep interest in human rights advocacy and work with civil society had guided my decision to sign the aforementioned petition, as I had hoped that it would result in a debate on the implications of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 and the way it impacted the constitutional rights of Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens.

    I am of the firm view that such legislation can only be justifiable in Trinidad and Tobago if the Police Service and National Security apparatus undergo adequate reform. Further, I believe that the oversight of an independent body would be necessary to prevent manipulation and political victimization by the Executive.

    Given global political instabilities , the crime situation and the large number of Trinidad and Tobago Citizens who have joined international terrorist organizations I considered the very real possibility of Trinidad and Tobago devolving into a police state with serious infringements on human rights becoming the norm.

    A statement was subsequently released by the Law Association on July 19th via email regarding consultation on the SSA Bill. This statement satisfied me that the Law Association President and Vice President took the necessary steps to advise the Hon. Attorney General about issues regarding the failure of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Amendment Bill 2016 to properly insulate the SSA from potential manipulation by the Executive.

    Given the fact that the SSA Amendment Bill had already been passed by the Parliament and assented to by the President I did not consider any contribution I could make at the Special General Meeting significant. I had been satisfied by the statement released by the Law Association on July 19th that the President and Vice President of the Law Association had done their due diligence and thus I had no major concerns to ventilate at the meeting.

    I had noted the withdrawals from the motion of no confidence and I felt assured that even in my absence, the motion would fail. I was also recovering from symptoms associated with the Zika virus and did not consider it expedient to attend the meeting.

    I was, however, encouraged by my colleagues in the legal fraternity, and motivated by my good conscience, to release a clarifying statement, due to the seriousness of the matter at hand.

    I apologize to the President and Vice-President of the Law Association for any inconvenience caused by my absence and in closing, express my full confidence in Mr. Armour. S.C. to lead the Law Association, as he has always demonstrated the greatest integrity.

    I hope that despite the confusion that ensued, the Law Association can take this opportunity to repair divisions between the ranks of its membership and maintain peace and camaraderie.

    I also hope that we maintain a society that has full respect for the right to Freedom of Thought and Expression as enshrined in our constitution. Despite the chaos that ensued as a result of this motion it shows that the Law Association remains a fundamental component of our democracy by permitting its members to express their concerns freely.

    Regards,

    Jonathan Bhagan

    Attorney At Law

    ( This statement was emailed to the Law Association and several media outlets on 26/7/2016.)

    • Confused much! Full confidence in the President of LATT and his VP yet you sign and endorse a motion of no confidence?? I think you should have just stayed quiet and stood by your initial action Jonathan Bhagan.

    • So wouldn’t it have made sense to simply decline signing the letter based on the 2nd motion if you didn’t agree to that part? Are you asking us to assume that you had confidence or took for granted that the no confidence motion would not be successful at the meeting? I’m not sure how to process that. Sounds like you’re flip flopping big time here now that the full details have been ventilated. Very shady indeed. Needless to say, this action does not inspire confidence in you as a legal practitioner. Consider yourself and the others blacklisted. There’s no way I would even consider you to represent me or anyone I know.

    • This is very shady…and even more so for a lawyer. What you telling me is that you will sign a document although you don’t agree with all the contents of the letter. As a lawyer I am sure you know that that kind of logic cannot stand up in court. Do you encourage your clients to sign documents that they do not agree to? Isn’t signing the document means that you agree with the entire document? This is just shady in my book

  54. Hmmm. We all know the saying about the law. Say I guess it’s been proven right or wrong go figure lo?

  55. “Meaningful silence is always better than meaningless words”

  56. A first rate squid’s dick

  57. I am afraid of some of these attorneys. They have no scruples. Imagine signing documents you did not read and following colleagues blindly. Changing your minds midway when information is flawed. Hello pull back. Your integrity would be questioned when dealing with international bodies. Lord help your clients.

  58. Well to my knowledge he has no kids so only time will tell!

  59. ..anyone I anykind of trouble should stay very far away from this lawyer if he’s will to represent the for FREE!….His argument unless the author has it wrong has no logic or common-sense to it…..I can now understand why the motion failed to get of the ground in the first place…DUNCE!

  60. Or his first born eh Vernal!!

  61. I like Jonathan eh, and I’m happy that his signing of that document based on his trust in Wayne Sturge’s political acumen did not result in the Forfeiture of a kidney!

  62. What manner of horse crap did I just read

  63. I am keeping those names oui.

  64. Well yes. I wonder if that’s advice he gives his clients……

  65. is this comedy central? I now understand when people say they have been ripped off by lawyers , such as a friend who paid $120, 000 for a divorce, (ethics committee saw nothing was wrong when she pursued it ) or another who lost a piece land because of the exorbitant fee to his attorney to represent his son in a murder case, etc It would have been better if Mr Bhagan had said nothing, his version is so incredulous and we want more lawyers in this land. Are they all GATE recipients, this is to emphasis my point of tthe level of ertiary level education in T&T, where it is simply about quantity and not quality. This is sad when you think os former layers of esteem, such as Rbinson, Hudson Phillip, Clarke, Sobhion,, to the what is being generated presently

  66. Can a none lawyer break this down for me please. I don’t speak lawyer. Is it he saying they were half way pregnant ?

  67. I really don’t know where to start with this…
    In any case, heard one lawyer got up in the meeting and said they signed the requisition without reading it.
    Apparently said lawyer is now going before the disciplinary committee.

  68. Ok. So when the opening line says “I trust in Wayne Sturge’s political acumen” I am very trepidious about proceeding any further. ??

  69. What are the chances this piece will leave me exasperated Lasana.
    Ah need tuh know!

  70. But i thaught he is a lawyer I didn t know he was a clown….. he is in the wrong circus

  71. Definitely suffering from Zika

  72. We pay to educate that fella in anyway if so ah want my two cents back
    Remember these ppl years to come they are the same ones will be saying vote for me.

  73. Please allow me to add nothing substantial to the impending discussion, other than to dismiss this with a disdainful STEUPS.