Ministry of Justice?

By Dana Seetahal
May 30, 2010 –

Herbert Volney“…one of the matters that I have questions about is the Ministry of Justice. As I write this column, there has yet been no Minister of Justice appointed. My concern, though, is how such a ministry will function within the provisions of our constitution.

Section 76 (2) of the constitution provides that the AG is responsible for the “administration of legal affairs” in T&T. This, however, is subject to section 79, which allows the PM to advise the President to assign responsibility for the administration of any department to any minister. It appears, therefore, that the PM may effectively assign responsibility for administration of “legal affairs” to any minister. But can she assign responsibility for the Criminal Law Department to a Minister of Justice? If so, what is to be the nature of such a responsibility? Under section 90 of the constitution, the Director of Public Prosecutions may institute and undertake criminal prosecutions against anyone, in any court in respect of any offence.
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30 thoughts on “Ministry of Justice?”

  1. It is a clear attempt to subvert and undermine the authority of the CJ who is charged with responsibility for the affairs of the judiciary and the day to day administration of justice, just another case of jobs for the boys as usual..

    One Love,


  2. you think Volney (who wasn’t making any side deals on the bench *rolls eyes*) leave his job for nothing….alyuh people now opening alyuh eyes. Steupsss….

  3. The setting up of this ministry is somewhat confusing to me. Why is there the need to set up such a Ministry? Does it help the administration of justice? Does it speed up the process of justice? Does it help in building the infrastructure of justice? Why is it necessary to bring this ministry when you already have the AG/Legal Affairs/Dpp and other legal entities? What does this ministry bring us in terms of the administration of justice?

  4. Is this site failing to cover important matters that we need to comment on?Why is it that the almost scandalous request by Ish and Steve begging not to be extradited to face US justice is not carried here so we can comment? Is this page now reserved exclusively for villifying the Ex Prime Minister and lauding PM Kamla? Beyond a certain time of day one cannot comment on the Express article and get it published. Those two have stalled long enough. Their US counterparts pleaded guilty and were found guilty and are already serving itme. Is it not amazing that the first request of the new AG is what amounts to a party favour? Is Trinidad and Tobago now a whore house where if you pay enough you could get anything you want?
    Who pleaded for the people extradited in the last four or five years not to be sent? We sent a gun runner with a Muslim name, three who were accused of plotting to blow up JFK airport, one was not even our citizen, but a Guyanese, and one who was a soldierin our army, and was sent recently along with two others for being involved in the murder, in Aranguez, of a US Veteran who had come home on vacation and was apparently murdered because of a custody battle.

    Now,am I to understand that African people are to be extradited if the US asks, but rich Indians and such should not be? We asking for real trouble here now. No matter what language its cast in, that would be a blatant part of a new kleptocracy that was elected May.24. I hope the new government send them off pronto. That airport opened more than five years ago.

    1. did you ask if T&T was a hore house when the PNM was defending corruption daily – steups

    2. The sky is falling; the sky is falling; the sky is falling. This is flaming nonsense! Get over it, PNM lost the election.

  5. The Legal Affairs Department should come under the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The justice Department should fall under the Ministry of Legal Affairs. This Ministry should exist to facilite for the expidicios administration of justice for all citizens.

    Mitch, Atlanta

  6. What do you expect Linda. Marcus Garvey is credited with saying that quote, “It is sometimes necessary for some of us to undergo the most trying ordeals in order to discover the best in us. For some of us are so constructed that adversity seem to be a necessary school in which to educate us. If we were but to understand the significance of the trials through which we have passed, we would come forth stronger because of the experience”.

    The fools who were mamaguyed into opening the gates of their souls to a trojan horse of ethnic triumphalism will never recover from their mistake. They have willingly and stupidly handed over their interest to someone who sat and fiddled while Panday trumpeted ethnically. You poor fools.

  7. Good point Linda. While we are consumed by the Manning folly and the euphoria of Kamla’s rise to power, we loose sight of the more important news of the day and of the time. Here are two individuals who are SURE to be found guilty in the American Court of Justice, by reason of the fact that those who were in cahoots with them, have already pleaded guilty and in some cases served their time. What does Anand Ramlogan need to know before commenting? Both Steve and Ish have used every loop hole allowed under the laws of T&T and have been unsuccessful, they have tried the privy council as a last resort and failed then appealed (with a gasp of hope) in an attempt to be bigger than the law itself. These are rich and powerful Indians who could not be touched by any infractions of the law in Trinidad and Tobago but are quite afraid of the justice systems of the United States of America because those laws know no race, color or creed and WILL jail from Captain to Cook. While on Trinidad and Tobago soil their money can always speak for them but for Anand Ramlogan to let them off the hook? That will be the uncrowning of the newly elected government. American justice is true justice not the micky mouse measures like minister of justice, minister of the people and multiculturism setups we are entering into in order to achieve things that are not easily seen by the naked eye.

  8. It is very clear to me that the people’s partnership have began to divide the spoils of victory amongst themselves and for some of them it is now time to give out favours to their friends!!!! Am I the only one who is ALARMED that Kamla has surrounded herself with Carlos John and during her swaering in ceremony the Galbaransingh family was MOST front and centre!!! Kamla yuh start off bad already!

    1. “It is very clear to me that the people’s partnership have began to divide the spoils of victory amongst themselves”

      Explain how.

  9. In efforts to free his guilty conscience ,a certain traitor , and some say coward once said in admonition to his then boss and others dominant handlers,”if you break it you own it.” This expression literately translated , simply means that’when you take out a regime ,and you bring down a government, you become the government.’Although this case is specifically related to Saddam Hussain ,and then Commander in Chief GW the frat-boy neocon.
    Sorry Dana Seetahal, it’s too late for such lamentations, for you are now in the drivers seat and in charge of the monster you help create.
    Your former DPP colleague, and recent esteemed judge com politician, will be leading the charge to undermine our judiciary as led by a respected Chief Justice from the island ward, that deep in ugly recesses of his twisted soul , he instead felt much more qualified and competent than.
    Both yourself , and present AG threw objectivity through the window , as you both choose to be selectively outraged re criminal activities across the land. As such you preached and or pontificated religiously just like other laschievious power hungry tribalist , about the evil folks that allegedly controlled this country and in so doing deprived more culturally superior ones from attaining their rightful positions.
    Rest assured , that we the few non revisionary , yet socially progressive , will do everything feasible including forming our own media forum where necessary, to educate and enlighten the sleeping masses as to the evils that we feel will be perpetuated by folks that do not necessarily have the full interest of this country at heart.
    We will not fail to hold your ecstatic talking heads,and changed agents hands to to symbolic fire , so as to ensure that their manifesto does not eventually become a mere wad of toilet paper.
    It is your right along with other adoring fans ,to praise and congratulate the leader,and pat yourselves on the back for the next four years of existence in power,on the fine job that 43 % or less of a population was able to miraculously pull off the impossible , all by their lonesome, as those perennial genocidal folks stood on the sidelines , and attempted to thwart history.Oh yes , if you such crap is repeated long enough, even you can start to believe it.
    We would also continue to love country, and is over joyed at the fact that thousand of others can also begin the task of so doing. Our country therefore welcomes the contribution of all hands on deck , as the precarious ship of state , got that way due to the efforts of each and every one of our 1.3 million people.
    I am on record as stating that , ungratefulness, is the one of the worst human quality.
    Let’s make efforts to love country over tribe, as throughout history, neglect of this principle can sometimes have dire consequences.

    In essence ‘no houses before houses deja vu’ all over again , al la property taxes , railroad construction halt, but ‘nyet’ on Privy Council eradication, or prudent land reform ,and other equitable redistribution of our vast natural resources.
    Ain’t it nice when you have within your ranks, a few token elements to give some legitimacy to a well orchestrated , blatantly neo tribalist agenda?
    Stay engaged my friends , as the Opposition it seems , is well prepared to spend the next four years crying, and lamenting like innocent frustrated kids, as to why they loss power on May 24th.
    Hey Dr. Rowley, no one cares , the Panday camp has moved on, and so should Manning’s led by you.
    We have a lethargic , underachieving country, to rectify people, so earn your pay as the government in waiting.Just in case you forgot , let me remind you of one basic political truism ,that your party , was able to play out to the hilt- ‘power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.’
    Love country over the tribe!

  11. As I wrote early on, I am not expecting much different from this government with regards to many things. But, this new government has not done much of anything so far – they just got into office. Yesterday, Ministers went to their respective ministries for the first time with former PNM ministers handing over ministries to the new PP ministers. They were getting oriented, which is a normal process whenever there is a change in government.

    So tell me, what are the important matters in relation to this government that are not being addressed in favour of lauding Kamla?

    Americans lauded their first non-White president Barack Obama. Do some posters here feel that we should treat with scant courtesy the significance of the first female Opposition Leader and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar because she is in opposition to the PNM or is an Indian? Her ascendancy to the leadership of the Opposition and Prime Ministership are very historic indeed and deserves due recognition.

    Recognizing Kamla’s historic significance does not mean she gets a pass. The article, “Ministry of Justice” by Dana Deetahal is questioning their decision and demonstrates that her regime is not getting a pass.

    Yesterday, the Express carried a report about Galbaransingh and Ferguson appealing to the new AG not to extradite them (as expected). They sent similar letters to the former AG.

    When contacted yesterday, Ramlogan said he would not comment on matters he was not “briefed on”. He said he will officially take office today and will answer questions on the matter after that.
    (Don’t send us to US: Ish, Steve beg AG)

    That is a fair response so far; I do not see anything to condemn the government about there given the fact that they were now getting into office. So it is very plausible that the new AG was unaware of such a letter and could not respond as yet. That story is developing.

    Also, is it that Dana Seetahal should no longer share the concerns she have about this government because she may have supported them (I do not even know if she supported them; I know she got a lot of valuable legal briefs from the previous PNM government)? Even if she did support this government, since when support for a government means never criticizing them or having concerns about their decisions?

    Any real supporter will condemn bad decisions and advise better in the hope of improving governance. Support should never be about blind loyalty. Maybe if more PNM supporters were openly critical of some of Manning’s decisions, he may have been inclined to change and thus save his regime.

    I wanted to see the back of Patrick Manning and in so doing it gave way to this new government. And, if I disagree with positions this government is taking I will react to them in a similar manner to how I dealt with all other regimes.

    People should not just trust that any government would do the right thing. It is up to the people to be politically active at all times and voice their concerns.

  12. It is very enlightening for a change to be on a blog with people of intelligence, Linda, Ruel, Neal, hats off to your`ll for your most intelligent posts..

    As a second year law student, it is clear to me that this government intends to subvert and circumvent the judicial process and subsequently the rule of law which underpins all democratic society by the overt moves they have already begun to make..

    With reference to the Ish and Ferguson extradition isssue, the AG has no power to overule the final judgement of a court of law,the Privy Council is our final Court of Appeal and once they rule in a matter that is it, the only exception I can think of is in a murder case where the President has the power to stay an order of execution and commute a death sentence to life imprisonment..

    There have been a lot of misinformation in the public domain pre and post election which I can tell was put there purposely by the People`s Partnership, coalition etc(whatever they choose to call themselves), to confuse and control the ignorant masses of this country, this was surely the doing of that white American a la CIA tactics.

    The ultimate goal of this government is for the East Indians to assume total domination of the Afro Trinidadians, they will try to do it very subtly(and in some cases not so subtly).

    The clincher will come when they try to change the our electoral laws under the constitution from first past the post(who wins the most seats) to proportional representation(who gets the most votes) knowing that the East Indians are the majority race in this country which means they can be in power for the rest of our lives, this is a very sinister plot with far reaching and lifelong implications.

    The question is, will the Afro Trinidadians in this country stand by passively and allow them to do this?

    Will you?

    All, my intention is to form an Afro Trinidadian Equality Congress as a watchdog group to protect the rights and freedoms of our people,and to protect us from arbitrary state power, is anyone interested?

    One Love,


  13. This young person KingofKings has an excellent idea. There is nothing wrong in establishing an African Trinidadian Equality Congress.It is possible to objectively advocate for the rights of a group of citizens who feel that they are being discriminated against.And this is possible without being branded “racist”. Such an organization could also monitor the government to ensure fair treatment.This is a common practice in many countries.
    As a matter of fact the Indo Trindad Equality Council is serving a very useful function in T&T. Ironically, the present AG has taken quite a few discrimination cases to the Privy Council and has had favourable judgments against the PNM government and the former PM himself.

  14. My dear friends, for those of us who have eyes to see we should speak, for who have ears to hear we should reason and for those of us who are informed we should be a sosurce of information. This new Cabinet gives us several ministeries that we should be wary of namely: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Food Production; Ministry of Planning, Economics and Social Development; Ministry of People and Social Development and Ministry of Arts & Multiculturism. All of us should be concerned about the intent of these developments because they will have profund effect on our lives and our future in this country. What these ministries do is allow people like Sat Maharaj to do whatever they want with little or no opposition from the general public. For example ‘La Trinity’ the original name of Trinidad, through the legal process and politics as practised in Trinidad today has become obsolete, our history suffered ostracization because four and a half centuries after Columbus left Europe from the shores of Spain and travelled to the West Indies, sighted the moutain peaks of the northern range that reminded him of the holy trinity – he christened it ‘La Trinity’. That is true history that we all revered up till the Trinity Cross Affair. Sat and Company in their search to find ‘discrimination’ in every nook and corner of T&T, found the word disturbing and discriminatory against his hindu religion even though hindus did not arrive here several hundred years after Columbus. You talk ’bout power?, that is power! The naming of the Ministry of Justice can be a watchdog to the CJ, DPP and others whom the new government may or may not be too happy about. The Sharma Affair, the Naraynsingh Affair may have been gone but they are still alive in the minds of the current administration (you heard it from Volney during the election). Social and Community Development are ministries that are meant to put special efforts at developments in areas considered ‘neglected’ by the former government. This can lead to serious inequities followed by ‘reverse discrimination’. We should not be complacent about ‘intent’ there is too much at stake not to be concerned about what the PP would be doing.

  15. Kian, are you not being paraniod?
    There is no doubt that the new government will probably regularise foreign embassy offices to reflect the true nature of the population of T&T.
    Have you considered that there existed an imbalance in the representation of personnel, image and culture in government institutions?
    No one should be threatened by any changes to strike a balance in T&T, because you must remember that the PP is not dominated by any one group, but is a coalition of the peoples of T&T.
    If the new PM and government should favor one group over another, they should be held accountable. Kamla’s appeal was her repeated clarion call for unity and fair treatment for all.Hold her accountable or turf her at the earliest opportunity.

    1. TMan, I am all for change that truly reflects the true nature of our society and I did not state that we should not be so inclined. What I am against is the changing our our true history to make it appear as something else. In the USA (Texas in particular) there is a move by conservative educators to reword the historical accounts of the slave trade (thereby changing history) and the effects it had on the slaves and descendants of slaves. It we have to match everything we see as imbalanced in T&T then the Afros have a lot of catching up to do in the legal and medical profession and I’m not too sure that thej govt you now hail will go for that. In terms of culture I believe that we should strive to have one culture out of our similar and past histories. Emphasis on preservation or separation breathes a certain degree of contempt and inevitably discrimination.

  16. I totally agree with everything you say. The “catching up” in the legal and medical professions is a legitimate point.It must begin in the primary schools and it takes serious interventions by government in schools which are attented by students in low socio economic areas. Generally ,the interventions which should take place in the educational system in T&T are along way off, but that’s another topic.

    1. I think you are now beginning to make sense, if government intentionally goes toe to toe to ‘balance’ everything the consequences can be disastrious. Some people are better suited at certain skills than others and we should not envy that. If the people who do certain things belong to a particular segment of society, we should be mature enough to accept it for what it is. When Trinidad went to the World Cup in Germany and the Trinidad players who feared well were compensated, Sat Maharaj immediately sought to invite the Indian player on the French team to come to Trinidad to train Indian players in Trinidad, I guess this was his idea of seeking ‘balance’. We need to use the word ‘balance’ or ‘imbalance’ wisely. There are definite areas in which ‘balance’ can be achieved but if the idea is one for one we cannot get the best out of ‘counting’ or ‘balance’ we must first seek quality.

  17. When the last Panday goverment was in power, a “Trade Delegation” including Panday, Crlos John, Mervyn Assam, Suraj Rambachan and a few others, Dokerman might have been there also. came to Houston, TX. This was a big conference when OTC and International Festival came close together, and the TNT delegation was selling this Indian country called Trinidad and Tobago. I walked over to chat with some of them, one was a college professor also, and he was shocked to see four African looking women wearing TnT pins, escorting people around and being proud of their country.We proved it was NOT India. Most of the Americans there thought this place was one of the islands off India.

    I still have the brochure put out by the government of the time, promoting business in TnT. Its an Indian brochure. there is one shot of two oil jumpers at a petroleum plant, but the shot is from far away and the faces are black blobs. You cannot see what race they are.

    When friends at oil companies here in Houston, recently recieved a delegation from the Phoenix Park project to discuss business, they were delighted to be really working with a multi-racial group from Trinidad, who were part of the company’s staff.

    I wonder what the staff of major companies would look like a couple years from now? Would the delegations going abroad once agan look like Triidad and Tobago are part of the Andaman Islands,instead of the Caribbean?

  18. does anyone even know that this was something the PNM had in mind? SO I will now say that all that you are acusing the PP of were also the aims of the then corrupt PNM regime that has been blindly defended for 8 yrs whilst they stole our money

  19. I doubt very much that the T&T delegation was selling an Indian country.Ms Edwards. This perception of what you saw is obviously skewed by your own bias and inability to discern the truth, because of your perpetual problem: rabid racism. You have time and time again showed your true colors in your writing and ego adventures with the pen.Do you really believe that”the TNT delegation was selling this Indian country called Trinidad and Tobago”?
    I find it hard to believe that Mervyn Assam and Carlos John would try to sell T&T as an Indian country.Maybe you were disappointed that there were no people in the delegation with whom you were able to identify. I would think that you would have some sort of association with Carlos John.
    Well, Ms Edwards, welcome to the real world of T&T. We have received many T&T delegations in Vancouver since 1966 and guess what? None of these delegations, except fot the brief period of UNC government, have there been any other delegates representing T&T, other than people of African ancestry.
    The point is Ms Edwards that it does not feel right when you do not see member representatives with whom you can identify( members of your own race). East Indians in T&T have been making this point for decades and have resorted to legal action to ensure equality in representation.
    The new PP government has promised to strike a balance. Give it a chance.

  20. Keith , here is your explanation: Carlos John is a crook! A lovable guy whom I taught English to at Woodbrook Secondary, but a crook deep in the airport mess.. Even then his charming smile was used to try to wiggle out of things.He is the one whose accounts were used to transfer money into the Panday’s London bank account, and that has already been the subject of a forensic audit, and the evidence presented in court.
    The next move would be to appoint Panday as President, and the former attorney general Ramesh l.Maharaj, as Ambassador to the USA, where he could plead for the release of his brother from jail in Florida for killing a man in a business deal. He could argue that continued incarceration is an embarassment to him, and prevents him from performing his functions.We ent have no shame.

  21. I am giving Ms. Kamla a chance. At least she did not wipe her hands after being congratulated by Mr. MAnning. However, in the long tradition of women like her being bullied, stepped on, and overpowered by men of their race, even killed,I am watching those around her closely. I am watching to see how she would rein in the more rabid of her supporters, the Chandradesh Sharmas and such. I have said I wish her well, and before God, I mean it.

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