All awardees of “silk” must now participate and engage in promoting and protecting T&T’s democratic state.
So said Israel Khan SC, President of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA).
Khan congratulated all the attorneys who were appointed senior counsel on Monday and called on them to defend the Judiciary and magistrates against National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds’ recent remarks that “criminals have friends in the Judiciary.”
A total of 17 attorneys were conferred by President Christine Kangaloo as senior counsel. Among them were her husband, attorney Kerwyn Garcia, and her brother, attorney Colin Kangaloo.
Khan said, “All of these new ‘silk’ holders would have been properly scrutinised by the Office of the Attorney General before he referred their names to the Prime Minister for advice to the President to confer ‘silk’ upon them.”
He added: “As recognised by the preamble to our Constitution, there must be the opportunity for advancement on the basis of recognition of merit, ability and integrity. Indeed, my dear fellow colleagues at the Inner Bar, you have been recognised for your merit, ability and integrity.”
Khan in a GML report, also stated that he had no concerns about the appointment to SC of the President’s husband and brother.
“If they’re qualified in their own right and based on their merit, capability and integrity, they should be awarded ‘silk’ and they should not be discriminated against,” he said.
Khan said, “All of you were awarded ‘silk’ because the Attorney General and this legal profession deemed you to be objective, dispassionate and impartial attorneys with the necessary merit, ability and integrity as required for the status of senior counsel.”
Therefore, he said their first call to public duty as SCs to assist in promoting, mandating and supporting the administration of justice and rule of law, is to call upon the Prime Minister to explain to T&T and particularly the Judiciary whether he endorsed Hinds’ statement.
“Speak with one voice! Country before party allegiance. Country before monetary benefits (millions of dollars for State briefs). Country before self!” Khan urged.
He said he believed they have the “inner strength to be strong and independent.”