.March 9, 2001 By Trini News
Trinidad and Tobago Today

AG attacks judge on eve of decision

Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj told supporters of the UNC, at a meeting in San Fernando Wednesday night, that the government is facing political bias from members of the judiciary.

Basdeo Panday the Prime Minister also accused the Chief Justice and several members of the judiciary of being political.

Ramesh Maharaj, the Attorney General, was speaking against the background of the judgment to be delivered today by High Court judge Ivor Archie on the constitutional motion brought by junior ministers Winston "Gypsy" Peters and Bill Chaitan.

Both men had filed constitutional motions, claiming their rights had been infringed because of attempts by the Opposition to prevent them from taking their seats in the House of Representatives.

The Opposition had filed motions following the December 11 general election to the effect that both men should be disqualified from sitting in the House because their nominations were null and void.

At the time of the nominations on November 20, 2000, both men were said to have signed false declarations, since they were at the time holding dual citizenships. Gypsy had US citizenship and Chaitan was a Canadian citizen.

The Attorney General said: "You cannot close your eyes from the fact that Justice (Ivor) Archie, who is doing the case, he himself wrote a letter and wanted the Government to give him a super-grade house and to build a house for him and we said no."

In leading up to this, he told supporters they should not close their eyes to the fact that the Chief Justice had made what he (Maharaj) described as political statements in the past year, and that another judge, Justice Wendell Kangaloo, had also made a political statement from the Bench.

Maharaj also told the meeting Opposition Leader Patrick Manning had indicated in February that he knew what the outcome of today's matter would be.

"The clear implication was that he had information from the judge (Archie) or someone connected to the judge who told him what the decision would be.

"We will have to wait and see whether or not Manning was fair to the judge," Maharaj said.

He told supporters, "when the news comes through that Chaitan and Gypsy lose the case and the judge decide to do this and the judge decide to do that, don't panic, because that is not the end of the matter."

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