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Angry AG defends wife in Senate - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

AN angry Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, defended his wife, Industrial Court judge Elizabeth Solomon, in the Senate on Tuesday against remarks on her professional roles earlier alleged by Opposition Senator Wade Mark.

“Do not call my wife’s name!” stormed Armour, as he wound up debate on the Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2023.

It all began when Mark alleged that Armour in earlier piloting the bill had breached Parliament’s standing orders by allegedly failing to declare an interest, alleging a past or current link to a company involved in arbitration, Dialogue Solutions Ltd. He also mentioned Solomon.

Armour in return solemnly said, “Mr President, I am an optimistic positively-minded person and I am loathe ever to rise unless I am given good cause to rise to take objection to anything that is available to be said by any of our citizenry in the freedom of speech which we are blessed to express in this country and particularly protected in this hallowed hall in exercising.”

However, he said standing order 46(8) said the conduct of judges was not to be raised in Parliament except on a substantive motion.

Armour said, “I want to go on record to say I abhor the irresponsible and dangerous comments of Senator Mark today.

“Leave my wife out of it! Do not call my wife’s name as a judge of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago in this chamber in your political gayelle!

“Mr President, I beg to move. Thank you very much.”

Earlier Mark asked why Armour had allegedly not declared his interest in the company, saying that was a contempt of the Senate under standing order 42(5).

This rule says, “Before participating in consideration of any item of business in the Senate in which he has a financial interest, a member should disclose the extent of that interest.”

Mark said, “Mr Vice President, I have evidence that I am standing by. You could take me to the Privileges Committee, because I have it. I have evidence to show where our AG, who piloted this bill, was the chairman of a company called Dialogue Solutions.”

Culture Minister Randall Mitchell interrupted, saying, “On a point of order, the AG is titular head of the Bar. The AG is Senior Counsel of long standing, and this is a matter of law.”

He said obviously Armour had an interest in arbitration as an aspect of the practice of law.

Mark shouted, “I shocked when I saw the membership of directors of this board!”

“I’m prepared for any member to take me to the Committee of Privileges! Because I have the evidence here!”

After a stormy session, Mark said, “I think I’ve said enough on this matter to allow the AG, when he is winding up, to make a confession.”

Mitchell, in his contribution, accused Mark of confusing two different legal organisations, regarding an unnamed document which Mark said cited an unnamed organisation helping to draft TT’s arbitration policy in 2019.

“What Senator Mark did very, very dangerously was to conflate Dialogue Solutions Ltd with the Dispute Resolution Centre.”

Mitchell said it was the latter which had prov