Young humbled and grateful for silk recognition

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Energy Minister Stuart Young, left, and NGC chairman Dr Joseph Ishmael Khan plant a pink poui tree during the La Brea Industrial Development Co Ltd’s Plant for a Purpose initiative at the La Brea Industrial Estate on June 15. – Photo by Yvonne Webb

ENERGY and Energy Industries Minister Stuart Young said he is humbled and grateful to have been awarded silk, in recognition of his distinguished legal profession.

He defended his right for this honour, saying he did not select himself nor could he ascertain the criteria used to identify him for this privilege.

Young, who is also Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, is one of two cabinet ministers to have been awarded Senior Counsel status (SC).

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi and Young would be officially conferred with the title on June 17, during a ceremony at President’s House, Port of Spain.

This awarding of silk to the two senior politicians, comes a year after a similar exercise caused a furore when 17 attorneys, including the brother and husband of President Christine Kangaloo – Colin Kangaloo and Kerwyn Garcia – were also conferred with silk.

At that time, Kangaloo felt it necessary to clarify she had no part in the procedure adopted for appointments and explained it is the Attorney General who invites senior attorneys, who have distinguished themselves in the profession, to apply.

The procedure follows consultation between the AG and Chief Justice as well as other stakeholders, and finally with the Prime Minister, who advises the President on the appointments.

Young planted a pink poui tree at launch of La Brea Industrial Development Co Ltd (Labidco) second phase of of its Plant for a Purpose initiative, on June 15.

Four hundred trees were planted on five acres of land on the La Brea Industrial Estate in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

He spoke to the media briefly at this event, giving a quick synopsis of his legal career.

“I was called to the bar in England, in Wales in 1997 and called to the bar in Trinidad and Tobago in 1998.”

“From there, I practised law as an advocate attorney in the courts, all the way up to the Privy Council up until the day I was sworn in September 11, 2015 (as minister in the Office of the AG and Legal Affairs and minister in the Office of the Prime Minister).

“I am very privileged to be in the position where I was able to serve Trinidad and Tobago as a citizen, in the role I have been serving in the last nine years and, I am even more humbled by the honour of silk being conferred upon me.

“I would just like to thank everybody for their support and assure the population of Trinidad and Tobago that I would continue to use whatever God given skills I have, in particular in law, and in particular in the skills of advocacy for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

“It is a great honour for me and I am humbled.”

In terms of the basis for his selection and what cases would have distinguished him to become a recipient, Young replied, “I am not the one who makes the award of silk, so I could only be thankful, be humbled and be grateful.”

He said there were too many wide and long legal matters for him to identify which stood out. He acknowledged, however, his recent skills used to persuade the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC) to compensate Trinidad and Tobago for the clean-up and recovery effort in the aftermath of the February 24 disaster in Tobago.

In that incident a vessel transporting hydrocarbons ran aground and overturned offshore Tobago.

Young led a delegation to the IOPC and presented to its executive. There is agreement for the Trinidad and Tobago government to reimburse service providers involved in the oil spill incident, and in turn, the IOPC will reimburse Trinidad and Tobago for expenses incurred.