Concerns have been raised over a decision to appoint a former law enforcement officer, who is being investigated in an alleged plot to assassinate a former friend of Chief Justice Ivor Archie, to a senior position within the Judiciary.
The concerns were raised in an email sent by High Court Judge Carol Gobin to her colleagues last week, which were obtained by Guardian Media Limited.
In the correspondence, Gobin question if the man, whose identity was withheld by this newspaper because of the controversial allegations against him, was indeed appointed to the high-level post last year.
Guardian Media understands that the man had previously held the post and was replaced before being given another stint in the position.
Gobin referred to the fact that the man was being investigated in relation to a shooting incident against Dillian Johnson on December 3, 2017.
Prior to the incident, there was a series of newspaper reports which alleged that Archie had sought to influence his colleagues to change their State-provided security to a company, which employed Johnson. Archie was also accused of approaching Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to assist with housing through the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for Johnson and other persons.
The man being referred to by Gobin, along with a Special Forces soldier and a police officer were alleged named by Johnson and a resident in his community in the police’s investigation into the shooting.
After the incident, Johnson left the country and sought asylum in the United Kingdom. He was denied asylum but was granted humanitarian protection by the UK Home Office.
“If this appointment was made after (name withheld) contract came to an end last year, then the decision to reappoint (name withheld) could only have been made with full knowledge of the allegations and apparent disregard for the implications. I daresay in any other organisation this would be unthinkable,” Gobin said.
Gobin, who admitted that she had been highly critical of Archie since the allegations surfaced, claimed that the appointment made her fear for safety.
“It is one thing to have to function in an environment of gloom and depression. It is quite another to have to factor in concerns about one’s physical safety and breaches of one’s privacy,” she said.
As she claimed she was not being paranoid, Gobin noted that by virtue of his position, the man would have direct access to judges’ chambers at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain. Despite her open reservations, Gobin claimed that it should not be construed that she was pre-judging the man.
“I do appreciate that these are so far only allegations and make it clear that I have made no judgment on the conduct of the gentleman,” she said. As part of the email, Gobin requested a meeting of all the judges of the Judiciary to discuss the issue.
In a response issued last Friday, Appellate Judge Allan Mendonca, who held the position of Chief Justice while Archie was abroad last week, acknowledged the letter.
Mendonca explained that Archie was due to return on Monday and that the issue of the meeting would be raised then.
Guardian Media understands that the meeting is yet to be scheduled.