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Bharath: Ventour not fit for role

Published: 
Monday, May 25, 2015
Sebastian Ventour

Retired justice Sebastian Ventour’s behaviour in the Emailgate investigation has shown his “unsuitability” for the post of deputy chairman of the Integrity Commission (IC). So said Trade and Communications Minister Vasant Bharath, who described Ventour’s comments following his resignation from the IC as “very puzzling.”

Bharath reminded Ventour that judicial conduct required that those holding such office refrain from bringing institutions or other officers into disrepute. He said proper procedures for recording dissent or disagreement existed and they never involved public statements. 

“A judge of the Court of Appeal, for example, can record a dissenting judgment but maintains the dignity of the court and fellow judges. The commissioner has intimate knowledge of judicial propriety and should have availed himself of any number of options, including communication with the chairman seeking clarification, communication with the registrar, communication with the other members of the IC, or committing in writing to the chairman and president his position,” Bharath said. 

On Thursday, Ventour resigned from the IC, one day after the Commission issued a statement to the Prime Minister’s attorney Israel Khan, SC, indicating that there was “no or insufficient grounds” to continue the probe into e-mails presented in Parliament two years ago by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley. 

Bharath contended that “the behaviour of Mr Ventour when he didn’t get his way and his public pronouncements after abandoning the proceedings perhaps says more about his unsuitability for the post than it does to any views he might wish to now express.” He said: “What would have been a travesty of justice, though, is if the majority of the members of the Commission had disregarded the process and bowed to Mr Ventour’s individual opinion and demands. We would all indeed have been flabbergasted’”

Bharath added that Ventour “confesses that there are times when they will not always agree but once there’s a majority, a decision can be made. So that is the first significant point.”

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