Who really are the monsters?

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
February 23, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSome people described the killing of Andrea Bharatt as “monstrous”, “brutal”, “horrible”, and “barbarous”. Those responsible for her death were called “monsters” or “Lucifers in the flesh”.

An autopsy showed the horrendous manner in which Andrea was killed. Rich and poor, Africans and Indians, urban and rural folks, were all repulsed by the barbarity of her killers.

These were private citizens. All they possess was the power of their moral and spiritual outrage at the affront to their humanity. It was as if to say: “We are fed up with this bestial behaviour. Let us affirm that there are still human beings in this place who value life and the well-being of our fellow citizens.”

Even as we mourned our loss, the police were abusing their authority in a sadistic manner. The Express reported that Andrew Morris “was beaten to a pulp by police while he was being interrogated” about Andrea’s killing.

“Arriving at Morris’ home in a convoy of black and white heavily tinted SUVs, SORT officers proceeded to mercilessly beat an unarmed Morris in front of his yard while interrogating him on the whereabouts of Bharatt….The beating lasted over 45 minutes, during which Morris at times curled himself into a foetal position with both hands covering the back of his head.”

On Morris’ death, Gary Griffith, the Commissioner of Police (CoP), claimed he “fell from a chair…during his attempt to resist arrest, Morris reportedly fell to the ground and in so doing also caused an officer to fall. Morris continued to struggle with the officers and resisted efforts to subdue him.”

Question: What was so different about the barbarity that Andrea suffered at the hands of her killers from the savagery Morris suffered at the hands of the police?

Rather than try to get to the bottom of this extra judicial killing of Morris, Griffith chastises Senator David Nakhid for querying Morris’ death:

“Senator Nakhid has already adjudicated this issue and found persons guilty. The Commissioner is unaware of which investigative body Senator Nakhid is a member of, since this matter is being investigated by both the TTPS Professional Standard Bureau (PSB) and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and Senator Nakhid is not party to either.”

In other words, Senator Nakhid and other citizens are not supposed to say a word about these matters until the official bodies announce their findings. Nor, for that matter, is the commissioner required to be respectful of the views of ordinary citizens or members of the legislative branch of government. Just as the CoP was defending the actions of his officers, Bronx district attorney Darcel Clarke was ordering her office’s Conviction Integrity Unit “to review dozens of other homicide investigations handled by detectives” in her office” (The New York Times, February 15).

One black man, Huwe Burton, spent 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Now, 20 years later, the Bronx district attorney is leading a wide-ranging enquiry into whether the tactics that the detectives used in Burton’s case and in the cases of 31 others were justified.

It is true that these cases took place in “an era when violent crime in New York was at record highs. The police were under significant pressure to make arrests, especially in high-profile cases, and prosecutors faced similar demands to win cases they brought to trial”. (The New York Times.)

Yet, the question remains: Were the police justified in using these high-handed tactics?

There can be no doubt that the anxiety and fear around Andrea’s killing brought much pressure upon the police to find the murderers. However, were the police tactics, even their descending to the use of murder, justified in their desire to find a suspect? Was it necessary to beat men to a pulp to get a confession out of them?

Agencies such as TTPS, PSB, and PCA have an obligation to investigate the accusation that Morris and Joel Balcon were killed by the police. Commissioner Griffith has a duty to respect the opinions of the public which he serves. But if Andrea’s murderers and the police see no need to abide by the rule of law, then who will prevent us from descending into that indeterminable space where lawlessness becomes the order of the day? And just as important, how do we guard against the brutish state that Arthur N R Robinson warned us about.

In 1989, Robinson tabled a motion at the UN General Assembly to establish the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prosecute people for crimes against humanity. The court, established in 1989, issued its first verdict in 2012 against Thomas Lubanga, a militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was responsible for war crimes (London Guardian, April 13, 2014).

Nestor Dinno-Alloy, the attorney for the Morris family, reminded us that T&T “is not a Gestapo state”, but one which needs to abide by the rule of law. The actions of SORT officers clearly show they are above the law. The CoP gives the impression that he sees nothing wrong with the actions of his officers nor do the investigative bodies treat these complaints with the urgency they require.

How tragic if the country that offered the initial impetus for the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute people who commit crimes against humanity fails to prosecute those who commit crimes against their fellow citizens, be they private citizens or police officers?

15 thoughts on “Who really are the monsters?”

  1. Professor.. I think these ‘Black Groups’ have failed us.. They think it’s cool to just get on the radio on Monday night, dress in African garbs and sing Kumbaya on the airwaves… Ase.. They have done nothing to advance or defend people that carries African blood in TT.. won’t even lend their voices for that oil refinery that sits on an ole slave plantation.. Ase. Emancipation Support , my foot..

    Anyway, we can’t even hear from Gypsy in these atrocities (Not forgetting the DSS head who got a beating from the police too..) even doh his son.. well..

    “I was made a political scapegoat and I have been sitting in prison for something I didn’t do and with people I didn’t know.

    -“How far are they willing to go for political mileage, robbing Trinbagonians of their God-given birthrights and equal protection of the law home and abroad…The PNM Government sold me into modern-day slavery within a justice system to be tried, where the colour of my skin is my sin…”-

    https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/framed-accused-in-death-of-us-soldier-freed-6.2.1250521.dadf71b691

    1. LOL “Baliram Maharaj” :
      -real name ALLADIN BARLOW JOHN
      -Fake US Citizenship
      -Deserted US military during war
      -Niece with FBI agent on case
      -INDIAN WIFE HIRED KIDKNAPPERS https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/trinidad-and-tobago-woman-sentenced-her-role-kidnapping-scheme

      Wife gets 20 years jail
      https://www.guardian.co.tt/article-6.2.412659.b667c91fe7

      Gypsy should have sung BIG black boy for his son.
      Blaming PNM for UNC indian political pressure to arrest africans for kidnappings. Don’t feel sorry for him…he is a UNC collaborator that is conveniently “conscious” of african issues. Just like with andrea bharatt, the indian community puts political, social, economic (bribes) and international pressure on local law enforcement and media, to “witchunt” AFRICANS for these cases and if it wasn’t or is done, they claim no justice because too many AFRICANS in law enforcement.

  2. There are good, church going Christians who are justifying the actions of the Police by quoting the Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

    1. TMan, it is a farce.. and it demonstrates how powerful media can be, if used effectively.. We are being told that Andrea’s ‘killing’ is Gender Based.. There is ample evidence to support a ‘hit’.. for some corruption at her workplace..

      There is no evidence of ‘rape’ but somehow, we keep being told that these ‘boogie men’ went through all of this planning and execution to kidnap and rape Ms Bharatt, all three ..
      It just don’t add up, TMan.

      Anyway..

      -The Arima District Court, including its online services, was completely shut down on Friday. A statement from the Judiciary on Thursday said people with cases there will be informed of the adjourned dates.

      Legal sources pointed to a significant bail racket in the magistrates’ court involving court staff, police and bailors, where false deeds, or deeds already used in other cases, are being used as collateral.

      https://newsday.co.tt/2021/02/05/police-probe-court-link-in-bharratts-murder/

  3. In reading the Selwyn’s article, “Who really are the monsters?” I was taken aback by the introduction of the ICC in his argument where he claims, “How tragic if the country that offered the initial impetus for the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute people who commit crimes against humanity fails to prosecute those who commit crimes against their fellow citizens, be they private citizens or police officers?” Now it is true that former PM, A.N.R. Robinson, did table a motion at the UN General Assembly to establish the ICC. And he must have done so with the best of intentions of introducing an institution to bring about justice on a global scale. But sadly the best of intentions often go awry when they come up against cynical manipulators who are just waiting to change good intentions into unintended consequences. The ICC is a case in point. Let’s take a look at what has been happening at the ICC. In Sept, 2020 “Claiming the ICC’s investigation into alleged war crimes by U.S. forces in Afghanistan poses a national security threat, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on June 11 effectively criminalizing anyone who works at the ICC. Its lawyers, judges, human rights researchers and staff could now have their U.S. bank accounts frozen, U.S. visas revoked and travel to the U.S. denied.” https://theconversation.com/us-punishes-international-criminal-court-for-investigating-potential-war-crimes-in-afghanistan-143886 So much for that.
    What is quite clear is that the ICC can only succeed in prosecuting individuals from weaker nations. It is, in other words, a legal bully, because if you are an institution that is there to bring about justice on a global scale and you have only prosecuted weaker nations, leaving aside more powerful nations who have been alleged to commit crimes that should be taken up by the ICC, then that is a travesty of justice. The ICC so far has only prosecuted Africans. It has been called by many a “neo-colonial tool”, there for legitimizing intervention in Africa. It has also been called the “African Criminal Court”.
    “Since the inception of the International Criminal Court more than a decade ago, only Africans have been brought to trial. That fact has led to frequent accusations of bias by the first permanent tribunal set up to prosecute the worst atrocities on earth — war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Last week, South Africa and Burundi announced that they were leaving the ICC, raising concern among human rights defenders about a potential exodus from the embattled court.” https://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-icc-africa-snap-story.html.
    Although it is true that the ICC only has jurisdiction over signatories at the Rome agreement, non-signatories like Muammar Gadaffi from Libya and other non-signatory Africans, have been prosecuted by the Court. If a legal institution can only prosecute the less powerful, staying clear of the more powerful, then it is merely a travesty of justice. How ironic that Selwyn can use the ICC as an example of a shining light of justice for blacks.

    1. Dr. Cudjoe has been reduced to writing articles to back up UNC senators while hiding behind the subject matter (african issues)
      First Kamla, now nakhid…
      Although his article is justice centered, i won’t pretend not to see the strings dangling.

  4. Crime makes victims of us all. The Sort officers should not have been doing the interrogation. Interrogation is a skill and should not be an excuse to assault a citizen.

    It took the death of Andrea Bharatt to end the career of serial rapist, murderer Joel Balcon. Women who have been abducted, raped, robbed by Balcon for over a decade are exposing the inept police and justice system. He was identified by at least 5 women as abducting them taking them to a house in Champ Fleurs where he raped them. A lot of these women from Central. There are many more victims who are just terrified to speak of their horrible experience. Balcon had no respect for the law nor was he afraid of the judicial system that granted him bail to continue his reign of terror. A serial sadist and sexual predator, murderer. With a rap sheet of 71 charges. A record of evil.

    It would be nice if one of Gary men can visit that house in Champ Fleurs and seek to find out a little bit about possible accomplices in this demonic haven of iniquity.

    Balcon was a skill operator, he would pick up his victims doing “ph”. Get off from the direction of their destination, telling them that he going to pick up a child.. before long he would take them to a lonely stretch get out of the car, tie the terrified girl up and take her to the place where he would brutally rape her and then drop her off. Those who fight back met a quick demise. He did this over and over again, identified by the women as being the rapist…but nothing was done!

    There are other Balcons out there with a long rap sheet watching your daughters. But will there be any attempt to protect women from these predators. The government must look into creating a better taxi system. Young innocent school girls can get into a car and never be seen again. A license plate can be changed. Perhaps like maxi taxis cars should be painted and gps that police can access be part of the requirement.

    To the girls be aware of which taxi you getting into and get on your cellphone immediately if he makes a wrong turn.

    Change is necessary, over to the minister of transportation. Or the Prime Minister.

    1. Allyuh jokey we… Balcon is not here to defend himself.. this is the consequences of not having a trial, he remains innocent of these charges.. and how many people can they claim killed Andrea..
      Don’t mean to be rude.. but, why do y’all think that ‘brother’ are after ‘your’ women? I mean, did y’all look at the ‘girl’.. Doh flatter Allyuh self nah..

      1. Ramk “he was a good boy”. Heard that all the time when police get rid of the pest. But nothing from people like you when the gangs kill off each other. Hope you don’t have children.

        1. Another trinidadian open secret :
          Who SUPPLIES & FINANCES (african) gangs in trinidad?
          Indian business persons.(e.g. Sheron)

      2. This type of ignorance, RamK, is not worthy of a response, It demeans Trinidad and Tobago News Blog and spoils what could be a pleasant forum for spirited debate.

        1. RamK,
          Do not be hustled by tman’s “spin” that mamoo is merely ignorant because he isn’t pseudo-intellectually refining his anti-african hatred as much as siewdath (t-man). Mamoo’s vulgar, hateful, racist comments ARE his true ideological self and comes out when being challenged. Mamoo believes his fake aryan racial identity superior to yours and his religiously rooted ideology decrees that when those who are racially superior (brahmin/high varna etc) talk, NO DOG (untouchable/african) must utter a damn word to the contrary.!
          Dismissing mamop’s self-revealing tirades as “ignorance” is t-man saying his side of mamoo’s coin is shiny and therefore worth more.
          . T-man is essentially “good cop”

      3. RamK,
        As i have pointed out numerous times before, the caste minded psyche of tman,mamoo, sat etc is indistinguishable from the white extremist kkk lynch mobs that murdered emmitt till and countless other africans in america. They have a sick, irrational fear of the african penis! It matters not if she was actually raped, because physical touching was already too much to bare for that twisted psyche. Ironically, it is an open secret in the indian community that many indian fathers threaten their daughters with grusome deaths if they were to ever have african boyfriends.

  5. 2 Samuel 8:15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.

    The role of government is to collect taxes, ensure equity in monetary allocations, but most of all the role of government is to execute judgment and justice for all the people.

    The government is in charge of the police, army, and judicial system. They bear the sword. When the government does not do its duty a nation fails. All arms of governance is there to prevent such failure.

    It is a fact that when the PNM in charge crime increases. It is also a fact that constituencies that vote PNM consistently tend to have more criminals. But what is frightening is that the judicial system is insipidly corrupt to the core. There are instances of magistrates purchasing land cutting it up and putting the name of unemployed people. Then using that land to effect bail for the criminals something that Andrea stumbled upon brought it to the attention of her supervisor who activated the machinery that led to her abduction and death. (Allegedly). Such is the dept of corruption in the judiciary that Joel Balcon was left to prey on the most vulnerable of society. Having 71 charges and still allowed to continue his reign of terror. There need to be a through investigation into the activities of the Angel of death Balcon. Who was he working for and why was he an “untouchable”. These are deeply painful questions that needs to be visited by the gatekeepers of the nation.

    Citizens need to demand a commission of inquiry into the judicial system.

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