Clarification on the “President ‘Guilty'” Headline

The following is a press release from the Office of the President.

President George Maxwell Richards

President George Maxwell Richards

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT TRINIDAD
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Media Release

The Office of the President wishes to refer to the headline which appeared at page 6 in The Daily Express newspaper of Wednesday 5th May, 2010 – “President ‘guilty’…of delay in filling Integrity Commission posts.”

For the sake of clarity and in order to put the headline in a proper context, the Office states as follows:

The matter before the courts was the claim by Mr. Devant Maharaj, head of the Indo-Trinbago Equality Council (ITEC) in his constitutional motion against the State that “his right to the protection of the law under Section 4 (b) of the Constitution has been violated by the delay in the appointment of the Integrity Commission.”

In the judgment handed down on Tuesday 4th May, 2010, High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh said inter alia “while I am also mindful that delay in conducting investigations can lead to prejudice to the proper determination of a complaint, I do not think that there is sufficient evidence before me to come to the conclusion that the appointed Integrity Commission on account of the delay in this case will be unable to deal properly with the issues, make a proper judgment or give the benefit sought by Mr. Maharaj… Looking at the complaints, I think that a fair investigation is still very possible. I also think proper conclusions and action can follow.

I do not find therefore that there has been a breach of protection of the law clause in this case, even though I find there has been unreasonable delay in the appointment of the Integrity Commission. The declarations sought are accordingly refused and the claim dismissed.”(Emphasis added).

It should be of interest to note that the word “guilty” does not appear anywhere in the judgment.

6th May, 2010

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