Judiciary condemns controversial statements by National Security Minister

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Judiciary condemns controversial statements by National Security Minister

The Judiciary has broken its silence concerning the controversial statement made by National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds alleging that criminals have friends within that fraternity.

Ten of the 16 High Court Judges assigned to the civil division of the Supreme Court have now called for an official response to Hinds’ statement on Wednesday.

In a release, “The Judiciary notes that gratuitous statements such as those made by the Honourable Minister have a dangerous effect of undermining public trust and confidence in the Judiciary and the rule of law and as such have no place in society.”

In a televised statement on Monday, Hinds sought to address a constitutional lawsuit brought by firearm dealer Brent Thomas over his prosecution for firearm offences, which was upheld by High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad last week.

Hinds reportedly stated that “criminals have friends everywhere in this country. “They have them in the Police Service, they have them in the Customs, in the Immigration, in the Defence Force, they have them in the Judiciary, they have them in Parliament.”

On Wednesday, however, Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, issued a press release defending Hinds. He stated that after viewing Hinds’ statement and having a conversation with him (Hinds), he felt that he (Hinds) never intended to besmirch the Judiciary or its judicial officers.

Armour said: “I am satisfied that it was not the intention of the minister, in any way, to impugn the integrity of the Judiciary of this country, either in any particular matter or generally.”

But in a email thread after Armour issued his statement, the judges all called for the Judiciary to issue a “strong and unequivocal release and condemnation of the statement along with a demand for an apology and retraction.”