Dear Editor: Law Association out of line to scold members on response to Anand’s arrest

EPL Infrafred Sauna

“The Law Association’s current attempt to stifle legitimate dialogue about matters of public interest—like excessive detentions and the abuse of police powers—is also an affront to the independence of the bar and the rule of law.”

The following Letter to the Editor on the LATT’s response to statements by practising lawyers on the arrest of former attorney general Anand Ramlogan was submitted by Dr Emir Crowne, Senior Lecturer (Mona), Attorney-at-Law & Barrister:

Photo: Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan speaks in Parliament during the tenure of the People’s Partnership Government.
(Courtesy Baltimore Post Examiner)

Today, on 30 August, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago issued a remarkable press release. Among other things, it took issue with statements made by two “practising politicians” with respect to the detention of Anand Ramlogan SC.

The release chides these politicians for doing their job—i.e. politicising issues. The Law Association indicates the comments made by these “practising politicians” would undermine the public’s confidence in the administration of justice.

As stated by the Law Association:

“We take the opportunity as well to express concern about comments made by two practicing politicians who described the detention of Mr Ramlogan as a ploy to distract attention away from the escalating murder rate, the Tobago ferry ‘fiasco’, and the revocation of the appointment of the Minister of Public Utilities. Such accusations call into question the independence of the police service and the Director of Public Prosecutions and undermine public confidence in the administration of justice…”

Too late. The public’s confidence in the administration of justice has been severely undermined in recent times, the most recent of which is the elaborate, Spielberg-esque detention of Mr Ramlogan—one pictures the Range Rovers arriving in Ocean’s Twelve.

Furthermore, let’s not forget the Law Association’s own role in undermining the administration of justice, when select members passed a—meaningless—“no confidence” motion against the Honourable Chief Justice.

Photo: Chief Justice and JLSC chairman Ivor Archie (left) signs a MOU for use of a new automated Case Management Information System. (Copyright Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago)

The Law Association’s current attempt to stifle legitimate dialogue about matters of public interest—like excessive detentions and the abuse of police powers—is also an affront to the independence of the bar and the rule of law.

The United Nations, in setting out the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, has stated that:

“Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights…” (Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba 27 August to 7 September 1990).

Worse still, by telling others to not politicise an issue, the Law Association is itself being inherently political. Why are some matters worthy of a rebuke from the Law Association whereas other instances of overt politicisation go unnoticed?

In the end, for me as a member of the Law Association, the contents of the media release are disconcerting. The release seeks to impinge upon the independence of the bar and freedom of speech, two encroachments that directly impact the rule of the law and the proper functioning of a democracy.

In condemning politicisation, the Law Association has committed the very sin it chastised.

Photo: Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) president Douglas Mendes SC.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
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  1. So when ranking lawyers representing dead clients. And you to now the John public don’t even get a explanation. We so dumb and foolish, so we don’t have any knowledge of the mess.

  2. LATT attacked and undermined the judiciary’s integrity with its failed motion a few months ago and it thinks social media and public discourse on a criminal matter is the problem?
    Big. Wet. Steups.

  3. Man when poor people do a crime the whole country does know, and the police does parade you in front for the cameras but when is a police or minister they start hiding and practically want to drive into the courtroom under tint,,,, man same stroke for all folks yuh hear, let we see a dog face under pressure too

  4. Its jus ah side track from d boat issue

  5. if the negros don’t want their rights they are free to give it back, other than that we live in a DEMOCRATIC STATE not a tribal one.. i wonder if was Indian or white police pulling out “blackkk” people from their homes in the SEO and even more so how come the crime when was so low when all the SOE “victims” was locked up…. the LAW ASSOCIATION have no right to tell right minded citizens to stay quite in the face of tyranny and communism. The CJ sit silently while the present government spits on ur democracy and their TRIBAL supporters ever willing to execute massa’s bidding. WHY HAS FARIS ALWARI NOT BEEN REPREMANDED IN KIND FOR MURDER AND CONSPIRACY TO MURDER??? because pnmites too stupid to know any better, that is why…

  6. I agree they are out of place. Sounding very political themselves.

  7. In condemning the politicization the association has committed the very sin it chastised

    Wow wow wow
    I love the words I wish i was an attorney to phrase it so precisely

  8. Wow wow wow wow

    They don’t just need scolding
    They need to get off and out of the law association
    And into their pnm party
    Where they belong in the politics
    These supposedly learned gentlemen
    Playing smart with stupidness and got caught red faced
    What a marvelous rebuke it
    Undermining confidence h a haha
    They did all that on their own

    I love this bright attorney
    We absolutely
    need him in our jurisdiction

  9. At least kamila had balls to the right thing !

  10. I really would like to see Mr West on that witness box. They will turn him EAST

  11. Don’t forget he was FIRED by Kamal his own Prime Minister for this crime.

  12. A bunch of thieves robbing poor people thieves will defend THIEVES

  13. What Law Association you do not exist by your boss Pope Franciscus Moto Proprio since September 2013.The knife you have to the throat of unwary TnT has been delivered into your back with a swift kick in in the seat of the pants(Ladies you are exempt)

    #MotoProprio learn it well to send the British Citizens back to their fake Queen Elizabeth2

  14. THE KAISONIAN was RIGHT when he sang THE LAW IS AN ASS.

  15. I am wondering if Crowne listened to what Moonilal had to say before he made this response to the Law association? It is clear that Moonilal is stoking and fanning once again the flames of race and sending a coded message to his base by insinuating that whenever the PNM is in power they persecute high profiled Indians. This bigotry must not be allowed to continue as I fear an all out racial war would erupt leading up to the 2020 general elections

  16. Are some people more equal than others

  17. Warrant (for big house monilal)??

  18. Is being a lawyer,an honorable profession? Just curious!

  19. Did the present Ag said there were ghost lawyers who received money under the last regime without doing any work , well maybe those are the ghost lawyers that is finding their voices now

  20. Who the hell is crowne. is he a trini teaching in jamaica? Anyway anand is not above the law and should be treated no different than any other.

  21. Think it is about time some of PP ministers who stole our country’s patrimony being taken to task.

  22. Does anyone argue that a prominent public figure suggesting that the police is moved by political considerations would not cast a shadow on both the politicians and police? Of course free speech is a right but every word and action have consequences. And that is where wisdom is required- balancing consequences.

  23. LATT should not make any one is above the law..

  24. This same ass demonstrated a deafening silence when thousands were arrested and incasarated without charge for months under an illegal SOE declared by the former administration of which the now detained former ag was a member , now they have found their voices .

  25. Excessive force. The politicians are supposed to be our representative and should have the voice to question within reason. We have seen similar abuses in the past that were politically motivated and this is not new. We must protect our democratic rights.

    • Yes abuses like the soe and we know the politicians that did it. Yellow!

    • They are supposed to be our
      representative but what do they represent?
      They are also suppose to set /lead by examples I.e ethics, morals, most of all responsible actions. If you flip the coin on both sides in this country it is the same. Corruption and lies. I guess the meaning of democratic rights in the minds of some politicians is to steal, lie and live like leaches on taxpayers hard earned $. I just hope all the others just like him on both sides are pulled up also.

  26. Once more I find myself disagreeing with Dr Crowne, due to the paucity of his logical reasoning. Here’s why:

    First, free speech. It isn’t as free as Dr Crowne would have us believe. It is not an absolute right, and cannot be misused willy nilly; it is abrogated to the extent that the law (and the rule of law) demands.

    Second, both Drs Crowne and Moonilal are incorrect in stating that the arrest of Anand Ramlogan is a matter of public interest, due to abuse of police powers. How odd it is that no mention has ever been made of same (abuse of police powers) until the arrest of the former AG? It is mind boggling to infer otherwise, when it is a personal friend and colleague at the bar who was arrested… and that too because of a legitimate complaint.

    Ramlogan’s arrest IS a matter of public interest, if only because it is the first time to my recollection an AG has actually been arrested for abuse of the office that he once held. The ensuing legal ‘battle’ will be a lesson to us all, and will no doubt exploit the many weak areas of law that the Trinbagonian legal system is rife with. That alone is worth front row tickets.

    Third, while Dr Moonilal may be a Member of Parliament, outside of Parliament he holds no special privileges regarding his breach of the law. Trying to (poorly) disguise his defence of Ramlogan as a criticism of (and blatant attack on) the police and DPP, not to mention accusing them of collusion, is tantamount to inciting the population, especially in regard to the fanatical followers of both major parties. Dr Crowne is especially to blame as he has more legal qualifications and experience than Dr Moonilal (who I am aware has a law degree).

    Fourth, the Law Association has many faults, but in this particular matter, it is right. There is a presumption of innocence before the law (again, not absolute), and the matter is yet to be heard before the courts. Inciting the population can, (and indeed, seemingly is the intent here), taint the jury pool. Trinidad and Tobago is a very small state and jury selection is limited. Appealing to the baser nature of their political sycophants is not a new trick. Neither is creating chaos to stymie the legal process.

    Political interference of the judicial process, in any form, is contrary to the Westminster Parliamentary model and the Rule of Law – once again, I shudder at Dr Crowne’s paucity of understanding of this concept – and the separation of powers of the three branches of Government.

  27. but from what i have read are we not setting up a case to win, who looses the state, the people who cares once we in constant turmoil

  28. The suggestion of oppressive and unconstitutional acts perpetrated by various arms of the State, as it relates to arrests and charges such as these, is in no way accidental. The groundwork was laid sometime now to create just that impression and impassioned reaction. Good strategy, but rather transparent.

  29. To tacitly imply that the office of the DPP and the TTPS colluded among themselves and the government to charge the former Attorney general and to use that event as a “distraction”, cannot be properly described as legitimate dialogue. Especially when evidence is substituted by mere speculation.

  30. What was elaborate about his detention though? Are we going by the account given by Ian Allene, or his pallywally Ramdeen? I would need some corroborating evidence on that version.

  31. Thank you! I was wondering when people would realise that in telling us not to play politics, the LATT is in fact doing same.

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