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President Irfaan Ali has appointed a team of retired justices to probe allegations of elections rigging.
“In keeping with my commitment to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to inquire into the events of the 2020 General and Regional Elections, I am pleased to announce that the following persons shall be appointed to conduct this inquiry,” Ali said in a statement.
The commission will be chaired by Retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John; Former Attorney General, High Court Judge and Acting Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean, Godfrey P. Smith SC; Former Chair and Chief Elections Commissioner of India, Dr S. Y. Quraishi; and, Former Chancellor (Ag), Carl Singh OR CCH.
To assist the Commission with its work, Dr Afari Jayan and Dr Nasim Zaidi will serve as resource personnel.
Ali said in the coming weeks, the intended Commissioners and resource personnel will review the reports and documentation, set out modalities and commence work.
Below a biographical summary of each Commissioner:
Retired Justice of the Appeal Stanley H.W. John
Retired Justice Stanley John is currently serving as the Non-Resident Justice of Appeal, Turks and Caicos Islands. He presides over criminal and civil appeals from the Supreme Court.
Prior, He served as Temporary High Court Judge of The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Montserrat from April – July 2021. He also served as Temporary High Court Judge of The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the British Virgin Islands and Temporary High Court Judge of The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Antigua and Barbuda.
In addition to these, Retired Justice Stanley John was once a Puisne Judge in Trinidad and Tobago from 1994 to 2002 where he presided over criminal trials and headed the Criminal Division of the High Court.
His professional appointments are as follows:
Chairman of The Public Service Appeal Board, Trinidad & Tobago | Mar 2019 – Present
Member of The Ethics Committee Cricket West Indies (CWI), Trinidad & Tobago | 2016 – 2021
Disciplinary Tribunals for Magistrates, Trinidad & Tobago | 1996
Executive Director / Chairman of The Legal Aid and Advisory Authority, Trinidad & Tobago | 1990 – 1993.
Godfrey P. Smith
Godfrey Phillip Smith SC has served as Attorney General of Belize, a High Court Judge, and an Acting Justice of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean. Each has a track record of distinguished adjudication while leading major reforms and innovation to achieve efficiency in the business of resolving disputes.
He has also served as Minister of Tourism & National Emergency Management,
Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Attorney General & Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister of Belize, and a Member of the House of Representatives.
Currently, the Former Attorney General is Partner at ByronSmith, Arbitrators & Litigation Support Services and Senior Partner, at Marine Parade Chambers, LLP, Attorneys-at-Law.
Dr S.Y. Quraishi
Dr. S.Y. Quraishi holds a bachelor’s degree (Hons) and a master’s degree in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. He later gained a PhD from the J M I University, Delhi.
He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1971 and after holding several strategic and key positions, rose to become the 17th Chief Election Commissioner of India, the world’s largest democracy.
Among the numerous posts Dr Quraishi has held were: Chief Election Commissioner of India, July 2010- June 2012, Election Commissioner of India, June 2006- July 2010 and Secretary, Govt. of India Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, 2005-2006. HE is also credited for founding the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management from which more than 75 countries have received training in this institute within five years.
More recently, he was a member of the Board of Advisors of International IDEA (Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance) Stockholm for 9 years (2012 – 2021).
Dr Quraishi was nominated to be a Global Ambassador of Democracy alongside Kofi Annan by International IDEA (Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance) Stockholm in Oct 2018.
Retired Chancellor (ag.) Carl Singh
Retired Chancellor (ag) Carl Singh has held several key positions following his admission to the Bar in 1982. He fulfilled the roles of Magistrate- 1983, Land Court Judge-1988, High Court Judge-1995, and Court of Appeal-2000. In 2001, Retired Chancellor (ag) Carl Singh was appointed Chief Justice, and from 2005 – 2017 he served as acting Chancellor of the Judiciary.
The retired Chancellor (ag) also served as the Chairman of the Advisory Council to the President of Guyana on National Honours from 2005- 2017. From 2017-2019 he served as Professor of Law and head of the Department of Law, University of Guyana.
Retired Chancellor (ag) Carl Singh was awarded 2nd and 3rd Highest National Honours – OR and CCH respectively.