Following the announcement that Boris Johnson would be stepping down as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Labour Party opted to table a Motion in Parliament to hold yet another Motion of No Confidence in both the Prime Minister and the Government. While such a move might be considered redundant given Mr. Johnson’s resignation, the reason that the Motion against the Prime Minister was struck down, the No Confidence vote against the Government is being allowed to move forward, even though it is the less consequential of the two despite the resignation. You see, the purpose of the Motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister is still relevant, at least from where the Labour Party is sitting, because it would have allowed the Parliament to re-tally the votes of those Conservative members who voted in favor of Boris Johnson holding on to the position that he is now stepping away from. Not even a week had passed since 211 Members of the Conservative Party had voted in full confidence of Boris Johnson that he was forced to resign due to the resignation of dozens of the 148 who voted against him. As such, and especially as the Conservatives begin the search for a new leader, it is important to know which of those previous Boris sympathizers still remain loyal to their former choice.
And I bring this up in relation to the recent vote of no confidence in the Attorney General, and the headlines it inspired, as there are some desperate to frame the tally of the Law Association as Reginald Armour getting “off the hook.” Comparing it to the incident involving Boris Johnson, on the surface, it shows that a vote in favor of the individual is not in itself a measure of vindication if there are looming issues still awaiting resolution. But putting that aside, there needs to be context to the latest vote of no confidence convened by the law association that has not been provided by any of the media reports, which all seem eager to absolve the AG of any wrongdoing in the mind of the general public, when in fact, the vote itself demonstrates the exact opposite of that notion.
For those who may not recall, this is not the first time that Mr. Armour has faced a vote of no confidence by the LATT, although it is his first as AG, it was only in 2016 that attorneys were questioning his decisions as President of that same organization. At the time, Reginald Armour, and his Vice President Gerry Brooks, was facing criticism for their role in intervening in the creation and debate of the Strategic Services Bill (2016), when both gentlemen allegedly met with former AG, Faris Al Rawi on the matter without first consulting the general membership of the LATT. Despite initially gaining the requisite support to have a motion of no confidence tabled on the LATT agenda, however, between the date it was first announced and the date it would be held, twelve of the signatories removed their support, citing similar claims that they were not briefed properly on what they were signing. Which, as an aside, is such a ridiculous thing for an attorney to suggest when you would expect all twelve of them to be more astute when it comes to signing documents. But alas, when the day of the motion arrived it was found that it no longer met the criteria to be considered for a vote, and as such, it was disqualified before an aye or nay could be uttered.
This is why the most recent motion of no confidence is so interesting, as not only does it demonstrate that Reginald Armour no longer has a stranglehold over the LATT as he did when he was President, but that so many of its members are dissatisfied with his recent actions as AG. Truth be told, it was always going to be difficult to get a majority of the LATT membership to vote against him when by virtue of him being a past President indicates that he must have had a majority of the support from their electorate, who are still voting members today. To consider that only six years ago, not even the required 25 members of the LATT were willing to attach their names to a motion of no confidence demonstrates an almost 1000% increase in the level of discontent that the organization has with the individual now that he occupies the office of the Attorney General. What’s even more interesting is the fact that somehow 7 of those persons who gave him their vote of confidence still voted on the secondary motion for Reginald Armour to resign from the AG’s office.
To rub salt in the wound, the Prime Minister recently appointed Faris Al Rawi to represent T&T in the ongoing Piarco trial in place of Mr. Armour, which is even more curious when you remember that Faris no longer has the PM’s confidence to act as AG temporarily. Moreover is the fact that with Faris back on the case, you can rest assured that the matter is almost assuredly dead and buried. This begs the question of whether Faris was chosen to replace Mr. Armour to protect his image, as the former doesn’t need to worry about sullying his batting average of 0-100. In either case, it appears that the PM has no confidence in either of these individuals to get the job done, and we can only hope that a brand new AG will be appointed soon.
Ravi Balgobin Maharaj