By FRANCIS JOSEPH Saturday, October 20 2007
ANAND RAMLOGAN, the Congress of the People (COP) candidate for Tabaquite, turned up in the Court of Appeal yesterday and announced he was representing political rival and UNC Alliance leader Basdeo Panday in the Couva North vacancy petition.
Ramlogan announced to the Court of Appeal that he was appearing for Panday. The Appeal Court comprising Justices Margot Warner, Ivor Archie and Paula Mae Weekes, dismissed Panday’s appeal and ruled that the Couva North seat became vacant on October 24, 2006.
Ramlogan had appeared with Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Sushma Gopeesingh on September 28 when judgment was reserved. At that time, he was not a COP candidate for the November 5 General Election.
After the judgment yesterday, Ramlogan told Newsday he appeared for Panday in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
“I considered myself his counsel. I was not told otherwise that I should not appear for him today.”
Ramlogan said he was fighting the election to assist Panday politically. “I can separate law and politics because it is necessary to maintain one’s independence.” When contacted and told that Ramlogan represented him in court, Panday replied: “That is not true, Kamla Persad-Bissessar is my lawyer.”
When told that Ramlogan announced he was representing the UNC leader, Panday replied: “That is his business.” Reginald Armour SC and Simon De La Bastide appeared for Clerk of the House Jacqueline Sampson-Jacent, while Ian Benjamin represented the Attorney General.
Panday was sentenced to two years in jail by Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls on April 24, 2006 on three charges of failing to declare his London bank account to the Integrity Commission.
He appealed and on March 20 this year, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and sentence on the ground of ‘apparent bias’ and ordered a re-trial. Panday appealed to the Privy Council and this will be heard in early 2008. As a result of his conviction, Panday did not sit in Parliament as the MP for Couva North.
His colleagues in the UNC sought several extensions. When no further extension was requested, House Speaker Barry Sinanan declared the seat vacant effective October 24, 2006.
Panday went to the High Court challenging the decision of the House Speaker. On July 27, Madame Justice Charmaine Pemberton ruled against Panday, who appealed.
In a 25-page judgment yesterday, the Appeal Court upheld the decision of the High Court and ruled that Panday’s seat was vacant.
Ramlogan blamed Panday’s loss on his UNC colleagues in Parliament who did not seek a further extension while the criminal appeal was pending.
On the other hand, Panday did not make heavy weather about the ruling. “It does not matter because come November 6, I shall be the MP for Couva North.”
Now in the interest of Justice!
Can we really say that Panday was fockin properly represented in fockin Court.
With Anand as his lawyer, why can we not come to the fockin conclusion that he didnt put his best foot foward, because he was a COPper?
This is fockin comess yes.