Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley says the decision by Chief Justice Ivor Archie to stand-down on his decision to go on sabbatical leave and instead apply for vacation, averted “consequences” that he was prepared to take.
Speaking during today’s Post Cabinet Media briefing, Dr. Rowley said he rejects the President’s justification of the CJ’s request for Sabbatical leave, adding that the cabinet’s decision is that there is no provision for Mr. Archie to be granted Sabbatical Leave.
Had he gone on sabbatical there would have been consequences. – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley
He did not go into details of what the consequences would have been had the CJ left when he had intended to, but he told reporters that he would have acted in accordance with the Constitution.
Section 137 of the Constitution allows the Prim Minister to appoint a tribunal to impeach the Chief Justice, something that was last done by Prime Minister Patrick Manning in relation to Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma.
Dr. Rowley said he had found out about the CJ’s decision via a press release,which suggested that the Chief Justice would apply for vacation instead of utilising his “option” to proceed on sabbatical leave.
He has now asked the Attorney General to initiate legal proceedings for the court to interpret whether that option exists at all, making it clear that as far as he is concerned, there is no such option.
He said President Anthony Carmona pointed to the 98th report of the Salaries Review Commission, as justification for approving the Chief Justice’s sabbatical leave and that the CJ had a “legitimate expectation” to proceed on it.
“I dare say as head of the Cabinet, I reject that position,” Dr Rowley said.
The Prime Minister said he received Senior Counsel advice on the matter and further noted that the Attorney General also received Senior Counsel advice that indicates that there is a case for the CJ to go on sabbatical leave.
“Because of the peculiarity of Section 137, if required to be taken, it is by the Prime Minister alone. I got separate advice, which is separate from what the Attorney General got,” the prime minister said.