Burgess critical of Hargun appointment
The choice of lawyer Narinder Hargun as the next Chief Justice was assailed in the House of Assembly. Announced last month, the appointment of Mr Hargun to succeed Ian Kawaley in the post drew sharp criticism that same day from David Burt, the Premier.
Mr Burt denounced the selection made by John Rankin, the Governor, which he said had run contrary to the Government’s wishes. On Friday, that was echoed by Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess, who alluded to Mr Rankin as “the occupant of the largest house on Langton Hill”.
Mr Burgess told Parliament he recalled the tenure in the 1920s by Governor Willcocks, who he said branded local police “unreliable because blacks comprised most of it”.
“It seems to us that the representatives sent out here by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office use their power when it’s convenient,” Mr Burgess said.
The Hamilton East MP told Parliament that there “never would be three consecutive black Commissioners of Police” or consecutive black Chief Justices. Mr Burgess charged that Mr Hargun had “violated the rules of the Commission of Inquiry”, in which the two men clashed in 2016 when Mr Hargun was counsel for the investigating body.
Mr Burgess told MPs that Mr Hargun had cross-examined witnesses, which went against the procedural rules announced for the commission.
PLP backbencher Zane DeSilva repeated the critique, but Trevor Moniz, the Shadow Attorney-General, objected that Mr Hargun had been examining witnesses on behalf of the commission, and not cross-examining. Mr DeSilva also questioned why Mr Hargun had represented the Commission after its chairman, Sir Anthony Evans, described a payment by trustees of the Port Royal Golf Course as “straightforward fraud”.
“That was before they interviewed anyone,” Mr DeSilva said. “If he was a man of integrity, he should not have represented them.”
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