Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Reginald Armour, SC, has finally broken his silence on his disqualification by a Miami court from representing Trinidad and Tobago in a civil matter tied to the Piarco International Airport fraud case.
In a full-page advertisement, which appeared in yesterday’s newspapers, the AG made it clear there was never any intention on his part to mislead the court in any way.
He also sought to explain that he signed the affidavit about his involvement in the Piarco International Airport fraud case based entirely on his best recollection of events which occurred some 14 years ago.
Armour also put forward that he was on vacation with his family in Europe at the time he was asked to make the statement and did not have any detailed documentation on the matter with him when he signed the affidavit—which gives the suggestion that he could not correctly recall everything that occurred during the case over a decade ago.
While the country, and in particular those who have been demanding answers about this latest imbroglio would no doubt welcome the AG’s efforts to allay their concerns, his explanation remains wanting and even provokes further questions.
How could any attorney, more so a distinguished senior counsel, not recall his involvement and contributions to one of the biggest legal matters in this country’s history? Naturally, this lack of memory was raised during yesterday’s Senate sitting by the Opposition, who remain unapologetic in their calls for him to either resign or be fired by the Prime Minister.
Still, even more questions arise following his latest attempt at explaining the current controversy which has developed over his embarrassing slip-up.
Could the AG not have responded and informed the country about his poor recollection of events weeks ago and quelled some of the disquiet which eventually erupted? Could the AG not have held a news conference and spoken to the public via the media and faced questions about his involvement in the matter, instead of hiding behind a media statement?
And now that he has broken his silence on the matter and is awaiting a decision on the appeal of this country’s legal representation in the case, does Armour have the moral authority to perform his duties as AG, given that he has now admitted his affidavit was, in fact, inaccurate?
The senior counsel must fully grasp and comprehend his role and functions as the country’s Attorney General. Not only is he the legal advisor to the State but he is also the titular head of the bar of this country and he must be the first portal of call for honesty, integrity and sound knowledge of legal affairs.
In his position, there is no room or leeway for poor recollection of facts and signing an important affidavit with murky memory. Surely, he ought to know the weight and significance an affidavit carries and what the slightest misrepresentation of the truth could spell before endeavouring to do a document while unprepared.
With lawyers also now moving on a vote of no-confidence in AG Armour, the question is does he and the Prime Minister truly think he has the moral authority to remain this country’s Attorney General?