The Archie Factor in the Impeachment of CJ Sharma

By Stephen Kangal
January 26, 2008

Sat SharmaThe relentless, insatiable and unmitigated fixation harboured by PM Manning in scraping the barrel for even the most tendentious and lack of a prime facie basis for wanting to disgrace and impeach former CJ Sharma as well as the rapidity of the process to effect the current appointment (done deal?) must surely lead citizens to inquire whether that whole sordid unnecessary chapter that blemished our political history in perpetuity was not a deliberately orchestrated political conspiracy engineered to remove CJ Sharma and enthrone Mr. Justice Ivor Archie in the first place.

When the Prime Minister gave CJ Sharma the ultimatum to resign or face criminal prosecution whom did he have in mind to fill the vacancy that would have occurred? At a time when the President is seeking re-appointment he is clearly susceptible to manipulation from Whitehall. He was manipulated to appoint three PNM activists as independent senators in the new Senate.

Why did the Prime Minister persevere in his impeachment agenda when it was clear that the Privy Council, if perchance the matter was referred, could not have handed down a decision before January 24, 2008, the date of retirement of CJ Sharma?

Readers will, in this regard recall that the Mustill Report indicated that”… there is a troublesome doubt concerning the precise identity of the conduct of which the complaint is made.” The Privy Council also described the features of the case as being “… to our mind troubling both individually and collectively…”

Two months before the Prime Minister sent the Section 137 representation letter to the President the Chief Magistrate refused to be cross-examined and the criminal charge against the Chief Justice collapsed. It was clear to all that basing impeachment proceedings on the lack of credibility of Mc Nichols was hazardous if not foolish and it would have failed to go to the Privy Council. Why did the PM adopt such a foolish step?

This allegedly pre-selected, successor-in-waiting CJ thesis gains increasing credibility from the fact that four senior Judges of the Appeal Court (a white, dougla, East Indian and dissenting Black) who possessed more convincing and compelling judicial credentials than 49-year-old, Tobago-born Mr Justice Archie were by-passed under mysterious, unexplained and even more troubling circumstances. Maturity and judicial diplomacy that comes with age and sojourn on the bench should have been the determining selection criteria for the successor of CJ Sharma.

It is taking forever to finalise an appointment to replace Police Commissioner Trevor Paul because of the new time-consuming provisions in the Police Act drafted by the Manning Administration that is now complaining about their own procedure. The Act was really intended to fast track decision-making procedures leading to the upgrading of the effectiveness of the hitherto non-performing, de-motivated Police Service.

But a more sensitive and responsible, third highest- ranking constitutional appointment ought to have been addressed in a more careful, transparent and consultative manner. Regard should have been made to the loss of confidence in the judiciary resulting from a spiteful, vindictive, politically-motivated and prolonged assault on the custodian of blind justice. A genuine attempt should have been made by The President to salvage and rehabilitate the disastrous situation now presiding over the battered Judiciary.

The new appointment was effected with the non-traditional speed and rapidity that leads one to conclude that the incumbent was on the cards and his name operated as the catalyst since May 2006. That there was more in the Manning mortar than the pestle that sought to grind former CJ Sharma to a chocolate paste.

That the influentially domineering Black Caucus within the ruling PNM Administration found that a black Chief Justice especially one from the sister-isle of Tobago, although relatively speaking with less judicial sojourn on the bench, would have been more politically correct in signaling to the base that the PNM stands exclusively for black solidarity and the empowerment of black people ceteris paribus.

And politics takes precedence over people in PNM country.

11 thoughts on “The Archie Factor in the Impeachment of CJ Sharma”

  1. This man cannot be serious. When someone who writes a leading story
    (in this case an opinion)on a serious topic, much thought and fact should go into the contents which he hopes to convince his readers with. An opinion which alludes that Sharma was railroaded to make room for Archie should be supported by more than just conjecture. Facts should accompany the contents of the story to bring any kind of legitimacy to his conclusions, he has not given any such facts but his theory of ‘replacing the Indian’ stands out clearly. That appears to be the gist of his story (opinion). He therefore fails to present a case that any reader should seriously consider before casting aspersions on the leadership of this country.

  2. People are quick to accuse me of infusing race into the debate, but the same people lap up the race baiting modus operandi of this tarnished critic. Sure, we can opine and lobby for changes to a system that will provides more comfort in its transparency, but basically this piece just reeks.

    But why are we surprised. Clearly there is a parcel of people who will make huge leaps of conjecture providing the ends impugn the character of the target of their racial antipathy, or render irrelevant unique experiences of a particular history that is as alien to their narrow mindsets as logic is to ignorance.

    It is what it is. Kangal could go boil an egg as far as I am concerned. While Sharma might have been vindicated for the allegations against him, the result of the investigations clealy uncovered concerns that went directly to the temperament he brought to his judicial undertaking. He opened his mouth without putting his brain in gear. It is a feature he obviously shares with Kangal and their symbiotic cabal.

  3. Mr. Kangal, your thoughts are littered with subjective feelings on race, with no real facts to support anything substantial! You refer to the qualifications of the prospective candidates, but fail to mention specifically who (which authority, if any, besides yourself, has supported your opinion that Mr. Archie is less qualified on paper than the others.

    Your feeble attempt to illustrate some sort of sinister racial design on the part of the “black caucus” controlling Government is laughable at best, and embarassing for the most part.

    Someone who writes for the public should know better than this! It’s misopinions and baseless thoughts such these which feed the belief by some that all Indo-Trinis are inherently racist.

    There should be a disclaimer that the mis-information contained within are really your opinions ONLY, and by no means should be taken as that of the entire Indo-community in T&T.

  4. May I recommend a letter from a Mr. McNight, in the Express of January 29?. He was part ofthe panel that interviewed Archie for a scholarship when he was eighteen. It makes me glad that we had the oil and gas, a similarly qualified person in Grenada may be harvesting bananas; and that oil companies invested in the future by steering this young man where he needed to go.

    It is truly a story of an ordinary, talented young man carving an extraordinary future.

    It is a lesson that could inspire every small boy in TnT. The writer of that piece is probably not a reader of this blog, but when you send good news out on the air, it gets to the right person.

  5. The PM followed the constitution and made use of a process which was available to him to investigate charges against the CJ.The Mustill report questioned the motivation of those involved in the accusations and raised questions in the mind of the reader, regarding the appearance of bias on the part of the executive.To suggest conspiracy theories without evidence is a giant leap from the facts of this case. Stephen Kangal has gone too far,and in the process, destroyed his credibility.What must be remembered however, is that a substantial percentage of the population of T&T would probably support Mr. Kangal’s speculations regarding the appointment of the new CJ. Does good governance mean that this electorate should be appeased?

  6. The five commentators on the above article will no doubt have read the letter submitted by Mr. Martin Kavanagh and published in the Newsday of Monday 4 February, 2008 at p.12.

    He writes:”…It is the general consensus of the informed members of the population that, in the case of the recent appointment of a new Chief Justice, the selection of the candidate was made long before the term of office of Chief Justice Sharma was due to expire and quite possibly even before Prime Minister gave Mr. Sharma the option of either resigning from office or facing prosecution…”

  7. SG
    He writes:”…It is the general consensus of the informed members of the population that, in the case of the recent appointment of a new Chief Justice, the selection of the candidate was made long before the term of office of Chief Justice Sharma was due to expire and quite possibly even before Prime Minister gave Mr. Sharma the option of either resigning from office or facing prosecution…”

    Oh, there was a poll? Did he conduct a poll? So people who do not believe that race has anything to do with this are not informed? I mean attaching that conditional qualification to any opinion means you win every time.

    Let us stipulate that the PM did have a preferrence for the new CJ over Sharma. Why is that so strange and surprising given the fact that the same authorites which cleared Sharma for indictable wrong doing censored him for being intemperate with his outpourings. Are we to conclude that the PM exists in an unconscious vacuum, unaware of and unperturbed by the judicial ramifications sure to be attendant with and consequent the loose cannon eruptions of the then CJ.

    Personally I would like to see a process where there is greater public ventilation of the selection process for this powerful position. But to attribute this selection to race based on nothing more than the fact that the new CJ and the PM share a sympathetic geneology is absolutely astounding. It would seem that the only way the PM or any black leader in T&T can escape Kangal’s roving accusatory eye would be to appoint 100% non Africans to every position of power and influence in T&T. I mean is that more of a far fetched conclusion than the one that started off this thread?

  8. Mr. Kavanaugh’s article references a “general concensus of the informed members of the population”. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this is also just conjecture, not proven fact.

    Mr. Kangal, you seem to be intelligent enough, to know that Mr. Kavanugh’s opinions (because that’s they really are) can in no way substantiate your narrow assertions about Mr. Archie’s qualifications, and your opinion of his capability in comparison with the other candidates.

    As for your racist opinions on the Trinidad Government, there simply is no supporting aricle that you can ever reference. I think that the fact that you chose to express in an article meant for public review, is not only insensitive, but inexcusable.

    An apology is simply due.

  9. Mr Kangal-
    Even ex-CJ Sharma has backed Archie.Please do not try to manufacture a new racial “issue”
    Ravi Singh

  10. Noting by the many articles that he has authored on this blog indicattes that Mr. Kangal wants to be recognized as a columnist who has and communicates ideas for public consumption and debate. His leanings (racial in nature) destroy the very objective which he seeks by his constant attack on Mr. Manning and the PNM government fo any and everything that he conjures in mindset. It is difficult to have meaningful debate on opinions and conjecture unless those arguments were derived from some factual source. One therefore has to conclude that Mr. Kangal’s motive is entirely void of intellectual content and not meant to apease broad thinkers but people whose emotions would be easily riled once the ingredient of race and bias is mentioned.

  11. Mr.Kangal I sincerely appreciated your piece but for the following reasons:

    You are a well read and well educated person.You know the entire history of East Indians arriving into Trinidad and Africans arriving into Trinidad and the subsequent fate of each race etc.

    You,Mr.Kangal,knowing all that in addition to your knowledge of the abject and infernal state which the Caucasians forced upon the Africans in Trinidad which allowed the African to live in a place akin to hell and to a lesser extent( far lesser extent ) the East Indians and you Mr.Kangal,knowing how the Caucasians deliberately used the selected parts of the Hindu Religion to successfully direct the illiterate east Indians to hate and despise the Africans and place the Caucasian on “Pedestal” and as a ” Judge ” between Africans and East Indians who had no reason nor cause to hate each other …you know all that Mr.Kangal and as result of what I do sincerely believe you know of the foundations of racialism in TNT I ask you Mr.kangal,to convince me that it is false to say that anyone reading your piece shall have absolutely no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that you are inclined ( if not already one ) to be a tentacle on the MONSTER of Racialism which is eating up our country and its people.

    You ,Mr.Kangal,have proved my case which is :- The root cause of poverty,crime and immorality in TNT is RACILISM!
    Yes,it is racialism ,mook!
    Eradicate Racialism and you eradicate poverty and crime!
    Thank you for your proof Mr.Kangal because your piece is a manifestation of ” It is racialism,mook!”

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