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JLSC admits it was not properly constituted

News day / Ramlogan indicated his intention to file an administrative order seeking the court’s interpretation to determine whether the commission was legally constituted with four members and whether retired judges Roger Hamel-Smith and Humphrey Stollmeyer were disqualified from serving on the basis of their being over the age of 65 and that they did not satisfy the criteria of ‘two persons with legal qualifications at least one of whom is not in active practice.’ In its reply to Ramlogan, the JLSC’s attorney Ian Roach on Thursday conceded that, the JLSC as was constituted with four members fell short by one as intended by Section 110 of the Constitution.

Members of the JLSC are CJ Archie; chairman of the Public Service Commission Maureen Manchouk and retired judges Roger Hamel- Smith and Humphrey Stollmeyer and Senior Counsel Ernest Koylass.

However, in his letter to Ramlogan, Roach noted that given Wednesday’s appointment of Koylass SC, to the commission, the argument on the properly constituted numbers was ‘now moot.’ Roach also noted, “Notwithstanding this, I hasten to point out that the functions of the JLSC can be lawfully conducted with a quorum of three members present at any time, by virtue of the Public Service Regulations.” Questions had been raised about the legality of the JLSC’s appointments as it until Wednesday sat with only four members and not five as prescribed by Section 110 of the Constitution and whether the appointments – which included that of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar and former senior magistrate Avason Quinlan – could be considered illegal.

But Roach noted that “In the unlikely event that the JLSC was found to be improperly constituted and without the required quorum, section 36 of the Interpretation Act, Chapter 3.01, preserves as valid any of its past decisions.” In response to Ramlogan’s letter of April 8, Roach described the proposed claim as ‘substantially misconceived.’ He also addressed the question of the legality of Hamel-Smith and Stollmeyer’s appointments based on their age, saying that provision was only directed at members of other service commissions and not the JLSC.

Roach said the Constitution must have been intended to include a person who is a fo Roach was adamant that both judges were ‘aptly qualified to serve’ on the JLSC having held office as a judge of the court in civil and criminal matters and in the appellate court.

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