Call for reformation

By Raffique Shah
May 10, 2016

Raffique ShahArchbishop Joseph Harris’s initiative to petition Government to free from prison petty offenders who have remained on remand for an inordinately long time is laudable and deserving of support.

However, if it’s accepted and implemented in its current form, it would deal an unjust blow to many more accused persons, perhaps several times the number of those who would benefit.

Let me explain.

Fr Harris has courageously placed on the agenda reform of the criminal justice system, particularly the issue of petty offences, some of which ought never to have been crimes punishable by incarceration.

While the petition does not put it this way, it speaks of prisoners who have committed non-violent crimes that are bailable. But because they cannot raise bail, they have been in prison awaiting trial for much longer than the maximum jail terms for such crimes.

In other words, had the justice system been efficient, such persons would have tried and found guilty or not guilty, and fined or jailed or set free instead of being locked up in jails that anyone who knows about them will tell you manufacture more criminals.

But there is inequity in this pursuit of swift justice.

What happens to the thousands more petty offenders who are similarly charged, but who managed to raise bail (hence they are not in prison) and like their counterparts in prison, await their day in court?

Will they continue to live in limbo as the rusted wheels of justice turn ever so slowly, as they watch others walk free?

In fact, if the Government should agree with Fr Harris’s petition, we may well see one or two of four or five men who were charged for the same crime walk free while the others await trial.

Surely, that is not what the Archbishop intended.

Which brings us back to the core problems that we must deal with: revising the laws to remove some archaic infractions that ought not to be in today’s statute books; increasing penalties that are woefully inadequate for many offences; speeding up the judicial system by eliminating preliminary inquiries and implementing plea bargaining; and giving effect to many more reforms that have been bandied about for decades.

It’s not that the Archbishop’s initiative should be dismissed because of a single though fatal flaw.

In fact, the offences that can be categorised “petty” should be compiled soon, and decisions be made on what can be eliminated, decriminalised or referred to special petty courts.

If the authorities, parliamentarians included, can fast-track such reforms the way they did Section 34 (which was a good measure, except for when it was manipulated), then all persons facing petty charges for unduly lengthy periods, be they in jail or on bail, can be flushed from the system.

That would reduce overcrowding of the prisons, making them more manageable. And it would relieve the courts of tens of thousands of matters, some of which ought never to have reached there, and others that can be settled by mediation, arbitration or special courts.

Now, we can do all of the above and more, but still find that serious crimes such as possession and use of illegal firearms, robbery with violence, rape, murder, etc, continue unabated.

Blame for this scourge lies with the families and communities that breed and harbor such criminals, and with the police who are charged with protecting the nation but seem incapable of fulfilling their mandate.

For as long as the detection rate and apprehension of hardened criminals remains abysmally low, and the conviction rate even lower, we shall be saddled with rampant crime.

We can only hope that if we remove petty crimes from the statute books, hence relieve the police of wasting time on arresting petty offenders, they will have more time and resources to focus on serious crimes-with better results.

I know there are those who believe that the “broken windows” theory, going after all lawlessness, is the way to attack crime. I agree, to a point. Lawlessness among otherwise “decent” citizens is unacceptable.

Breaking traffic regulations and building codes, littering, wasting precious water, rampant noise pollution-all need to be eliminated if our society is to remain civilised.

We may, however, have to prioritise how we attack the beast if we are to make any headway: what if the police charge thousands of offenders for relatively minor infractions…would we feel safer?

Or would it not be better they go after those who commit serious crimes, ensure that they are charged, convicted and incarcerated?

Although general lawlessness angers me, I would be more comfortable knowing that most if not all violent criminals are either dead or in jail.

I therefore support Archbishop Harris’s initiative, but as part of a broader reformation of our legal, judicial and penal systems.

19 thoughts on “Call for reformation”

  1. Very poor proposal by Fr. Harris, but he must be commended for bringing up such a sggestion. Let criminals go free for petty crimes. What is defined as petty “a woman purse snatched and all money taken out and the purse disposed of”. I am sure to the traumatized woman who have to go through the pain of replacing her identification card and other items this was not petty.

    It comes down to who is defining what is petty. Much like money to the government it is taxes, to the employee it is wages, to the bank it is a loan or investment, to the wife without the husband it is alimony payments, to the student it is a loan. Petty will be viewed differently by all and sundry.

    A better proposal is to rehire retired judges and have night court where matters could be heard and judgment deliver with speed. These petty crimes could be dealt with in an expeditious manner. The second option is to use JPs and have the person admit to the crime pay a fine and release. The third option is to release them under Fr. Harris care or any pastoral care where they are required to report weekly and attend counciling classes for at least a year. The fourth option is to cane them, it has an 85% success rate or higher where it is practiced in Eastern countries. That tender behind will be sore for a few days but the person will realise there are consequences for bad behaviour. I would gladly apply for that job and accept minimum wage.

    Releasing people for crimes committed is against the tenet of good practice and wise judgements. It sends a wrong signals to the youths in the nation. In New York petty crimes were dealt with because of the belief that petty crime leads to bigger crime. Crime rate dropped almost over night because the officers arrested the guys who were stealing and breaking windows. 22

  2. Section 34 should be revisited and all necessary safe guards put in place. It was a good piece of legislation, however, it was not fully debated from a legal perspective, the time to change that with broad consultations is here. Instead of the ten year some cases could be dropped if not brought to court in 5 years. Imbert had suggested 7 years. The huge backlog with an overpaid Chief Justice for life cannot be good for the nation. He is not dealing swiftly with these issues citing the independence of the judiciary.

    For a democracy to function efficiently justice cannot be delayed. People cannot be held for ransom by these high level of inefficiencies and indifference to human suffering. Ones reputation cannot be tarnished or held under suspect for time infinitum.

    Certainly the CJ have to move with a level of concern for the citizenry. These challenges presents an opportunity for innovation. The old model of jury and judge must be revisited. Why not have two judges listen to a case and make a determination within a specific amount of time? There cannot be short cuts but there certainly can be innovation. The Westminster model was formulated at a time when life was much much slower today life moves at the speed of light.

    If the CJ forms a team to look critically at improving the justice system and ask the team to be as innovative as possible, Emmanuel Kant “think outside the box” sort of scenario the justice system would be better served in the long term. There are enough legal luminaries to make the changes but nothing happens without the will to do so….accused can all sit on their hands and wait.. Imprisoned by a slow archaic system.

  3. *Age has nothing to do with maturity* – President of the I.R.O.

    Does this comment surprise anyone? This is what the I.R.O that has been changed to the H.I.R.O has stated as public policy of that institution. Any wonder why our institutions are failing us so badly since the rise of Kamla Persad Bissessar as Prime Minister of this country? The mixing of Christianity and hinduism is like mixing lime and milk. Child marriages lies at the heart of hinduism. For the hindu President of the I.R.O to denounce it, is like saying that hinduism is wrong for the masses. Unless the christian elements of that organization come out and publicly distance themselves from that policy, they will go down in history as an awkward and feeble organization looking to satisfy institutional preservation, rather than spreading ecumenical knowledge to their flocks. Child marriage is WRONG from any standpoint one might wish to contend. It is wrong from a secular and moral standpoint. No where in the christian church nor christian history has child marriages been a prominent attribute to enhancing the flock. Hinduism is based on race and human values of superiority and inferiority, so it does not come into moral conflict when they propagate child marriage as an act worth maintaining. The Christian ethic on the other hand revolves around what is considered moral or immoral by the teachings of Jesus Christ. So, when Archbishop (or Bishop) Barbara Burke comes out saying that the Sate should not interfere in the business of the Church, she is NOT following in the footsteps of Christ but rather looking to maintain her standing with the hindu community. Her utterances cannot be said to be in line with that of her followers or members of the christian faith. She is alone as a member of the I.R.O and does not represent the ecumenical views that christians espouses.

  4. The problem with the justice system is not the laws. The laws can be sustained and provide a fair and just result. It is the administration of the system that is flawed. Take for example, if Kamla decides she does not like what is said about the UNC and wishes to take someone to court for it. Will have that case before the justices within 60 days. By the same token, I read recently where a man was fined for assulting and stealing from his uncle more than ten years ago. Such a case requires swift justice, whereas the political one should wait in line to take due course. That is how mismanaged and political the system of justice has become. Priority for the sake of justice should take precedent over matters of a civil nature. Litigation has been given priority in our justice system because it is not about justice but personal gratification and gamesmanship. When the justice system begins to address the needs of the society and not just narrow political schemes then we can say we are on our towards pleasing the people.

  5. Kian. By pandit harryspersad’s own admission that child marriage is important for hindus, and indian muslim vice president of (H.)I.R.O agreeing with the practice from a religious standpoint, i wonder if they know that they are admitting AND proving that it was AFRICAN CHRSITIAN Educators (pricipals, teachers) and The PNM political position that ALL children HAVE to attend school is why Indians and hindus can boast of educational achievement. It was African pricipals, teachers and PNM officials that put pressure on Indians to NOT have their children start work at age 11 (Helen Bhagwansingh) or be married and starting a family at 11 (Pandit Harrypersad’s Mother). Imagine if Hindu UNC/DLP had gained power in 1956 instead …remember Kian Pandit Harrypersad said that child marriage is important to protect “dynasties”(caste lineage) and caste….in that good morning trinidad and tobago interview he did with ron brumell, he said that brahmin has to go with brahmin, ksatria with ksatria, vaVaishya with vaishya….NOW we know that caste is determined by SKIN COLOUR (Varna) and that each “caste”(varna) is considered a separate ‘race’ in hinduism (contrary to modern western proof of genetics)…SO….A pandit is admitting that hinduissm is RACIST and promotes racism to the extent that child marriage is used to prevent female hindus from socializing and becoming intimate outside their ‘race’ and VARNA (caste)….and you put THAT in charge of african Christian’s children’s future?? You vote for THAT

  6. Also kian, from an ethno-political standpoint, this gives UNC DLP Indians much more control over their children and women that Africans and others can….think abou4 it….most people form political points of view during high school, college and in the workplace…imagine over the last 50 years…hindu and indian women, not socializing and being freely educated (en masse)…
    their pandits, their husbands and village GIVE THEM THEIR socio-political views!!!! They are (comparatively) drones….thus is why EVERY DAMN election sice before independence Indians vote ONE WAY!!!…without hesitation ot sha,e!….African women on the other hand like some whites followed feminism and were freely socializing in the police force, army, fire service, public service, SPORTS (indian women en masse do not play sports)….therefore African women, girls, tennagers, college students, workers and men are more open minded and easier to sway politically if they are promised fairness….!! This is why the Indian community thrives educationally also…if a pandit says “go study law, engineering and medicine” “go and squat tomown land” “only vote race”…it is like a satellite broadcast….MOST oBEY as a group…..could/would a single african pastor do that? Or have that much influence and obedience??? No….marriage at 11 affords them excellent control of their ethnic group!


      Let’s see. if you grow up in a culture, which condone’s underage marriages ,and incest, then what stops you from supporting same in the wider society?
      It ain’t surprising that numerous women from the tribe – including a certain Female , ex PM , and obviously ,her high end spiritual adviser Sat Maraj, sees no problem with this dehumanizing behavior.
      For those of you naive Africans , who fervently subscribe to your Arab conquest religion, take note, that dem Imams , are no different , to the guys of Hindustani Nation, hmmmmm?
      The sad reality is, that our T&T , is divided by two tribes, Africans, and Black/ Brown South Asians- Euro White -wannabe – blokes.
      The former , after 400 years of diabolical Euro- Caucasian , barbarian slavery, still has unresolved demons to contend with. The latter in contrast , came with all his/her evil , ugly , cultural habits, which he / she is prepared to hold on to forever, while giving the middle finger to more wholesome ,national norms, and laws.
      Both groups hate their women , and treats them like foot cloth.Both abuse , and misuse their kids, under the guys of obedience, or love.
      Both indulge in corrupt practices , and disregards those at the lower echelons of the society. Both has a twisted notion of patriotism, and so would not hesitate to tarnish the name of their country , with impunity.
      Both choose to stupidly finger point , and lay blame at the footsteps of ‘the other ,’ or worst yet, single out desperate ethnic / tribal immigrant minorities for all their country’s woes. Both groups , are stuck with a bunch of self serving elites , who are fully cognizant of the fact, dat after some 53 years ,their respective tribes – not White , evil , conniving Massa -are the responsible blokes ,for the mess our underachieving T&T , is stuck in, but naively thinks folks from Mars , would be the solution.
      I remain optimist , that some day , good sense would prevail, and as a nation we’ll find a way to move forward.

      Long live the Republic of T&T,and may Human Rights for women, children, and the economically depraved poor , become a reality in La Trinity , un dia , si?

      1. A sane and sober injection of objective thought on a site filled wit hate , bigotry and derision.

  7. Neal,

    Your posts seem & appear to aim to be “fair”…And so,while an admirable goal, it sometimes leads to a destructive type of political correctness! You see, since you have an iron clad stance on being “fair” you end up FORCING & TWISTING the reality to SUIT your Narrative….thzt ie, that “both” sides do x,y & z! While i support the idea of not “blaming the ‘othdr’ ” for things that are done across the board, what about when it is simply the truth?? This approach Neal, leads to the same rubbish the conservatives try to force into the psyche of the world i.e. BOTH Africans and europeans are responsible for the racism and reled issues in the country…”BOTH ” and they “BOTH” should share blame…this is what Indians, whtes, syrians and chinese Trinis would have you believe and trumpet for the younger generstion to hear!! Eh Neal? “BOTH” Indians & Africans went through Slavery in T&T…???? “BOTH” Indians and Africans encourage hatred of “the other” because of dark skin and thich hair??? “BOTH” Indians and Africans fought f0against racism in 1970’s ??? “BOTH” Indians & Africans Oppress one another while in office?? Eh Neal?? “BOTH” Indians & Africans threaten their children with death and disowning if they marry “the other”…”BOTH” Africans & Indians only Hire straight-haired people in their workplace (non staright haired for sweeping, guarding, taking risks) ??? Eh Neal??? See how ridiculous “BoTH” is???….it is clearly ONE group doing this to the other buttttttt it sounds better to say “both” so as not to offend anyone. …then justice is not the ultimate goal…truth is not the ultimate goal but a political stance to please all sides….!! F**** That!
    Neal ….BOTH Hinduism & Christianity are PRO caste/racism??? BOTH hinduism and christianity preach that some lives are worth more than others?? Really?? BOTH hinduism and christianity preach that some people are not human and deserve to suffer for their blackness…to be subjugated as slaves??? Eh neal??
    Fact is…..Indians/hindus and their institutions are PRO racism as a group and Africans are ANTI racism as a group full stop!

    1. Oh, and Neal…”BOTH Hindus/Indians & Africans /Christians in the caribbean/Diaspora have been PRO-SEPRATIST /PRO SECTARIAN Agenda???

      Another Major difference between the two groups is that since arrival in T&T and wherever they met Africans (guyana,south africa, kenya, mauritius, fiji etc) Indians / Hindus PREACH. ..not PREACH overtly and covertly to their children via schools, temples and any institutions they control….SECTARIANISM (From Africans…not whites, chinese and othe straight haired groups i.e. it is racism/caste)
      Africans /Christians on theother hans preach the opposite….they preach intergration, inter marriage and political assimilation! This is the reality!! One group hates and scorns the other…wants to control and subjugate the other as a religious/socio-political AGENDA!


    Keep silent about this mentality among a large portion of T&T soxiety….sit back and see them flood more of like minded people from the source of this behaviour to swamp T&T. …sit back and say mnothing…keep trying to be fait….stay quiet about the india expoo immigration operation!

  9. Most civilized countries and societies look to enlightened leadership for progress and change. Martin Luther, author of The Reformation book of the same name as this article, has been given credit for many of the changes and practices we accept as public morality today. As a reformist, he not only denounced many directives coming from the Vatican and other church hierarchies at the time but instead encouraged changes that were not in conformity with christianity. His stance infuriated leaders of the established church functionaries. But because of sound reasoning and commitment to true christianity, he prevailed in reforming the brutality and inconsistencies that existed with the established organizational functionaries of the church. Because something is practiced for hundreds or thousands of years does not in itself make it right. History teaches us that many weirdos attained the mantle of leadership and unleashed disproportionate hardships on many sectors of the then society that lasted hundreds and maybe thousands of years afterwards. When leaders like ‘brother’ Harripersad Maharaj and ‘sister’ Barbara Burke take it upon themselves to speak for an organization like the I.R.O, we as the targeted public know it is time for reformation. How do we know this? ‘brother’ Harripersad says he speak for the hindu religion, yet, in complete reversal to his stance, the Hindu Women Council speak of action to get rid of this ancient and immoral practice of child marriages. Worse yet, in reading social media, a great many of the responses to this issue are Indian people who find this practice inhumane. A great many of them want to see this practice stopped and a sensible one put in place by the government. For people like Sat Maharaj, ‘brother’ Harripersad and Barbara Burke who are saying that government should stay out of this argument and leave only to religion, I say to them, that is stupidity. When children are born, who do we first look to to protect them? – the government. When we take our children to school to get an education, who do we look toward to pay the expenses for their education? – the government? As our children take their place in society and we expect some semblance of protection for their safety, who do we look to ensure their safety? – the government. So, if we expect the government to do so many things for us why should we keep the government out of one of our most fundamental societal practices of co-habitation called marriage? The government indeed has an essential role to play in how and when we co-habitate. We use the government sponsored utilities like the health system when we get sick and the protective services when we feel in endangered. So why now does Sat Maharaj and Harripersad and Barbara feel the the government should be left out? There is only one reason why these people feel that way. It is to have total sway in terms of controlling the minds of their flocks. There is no other logical reason to explain their stances. The time has come when we should not blindly ‘follow the leader’. When Patrick Manning was not performing with the commitment to duty and responsibility we expected of him, we turned to the sweet talking, pretty smiling cuties who promised every body everything under the sun. Today, our country is worse off because of her selfish and greedy
    governance. It is her reign that gave us ‘brother’ Harripersad and Barbara Burke and Sat Maharaj who are in effect sanctioning rape of our young children who are not mature enough to make informed decisions on what is really entailed in marriage and the true cost of making the wrong decisions.

    1. Martin Luther was a vicious racist, hence the ‘lutheran church’. Kian, the Hindu Women’s organization is an arm of the UNC and is politically posturing to look good before the public…with one breath they denounce child marriages buttttttt those same women will not criticize or admit that is THEIR religion and THEIR fellow hindus who are the ones still practicing the same child marriages!! If they want to be truly earnest, they should admit it is a Hindu practice and in T&T it is only they and indian muslims that harbour these practices….but they won’t…they want to hide behind the general public and make these calls as if it is a general practice among ALL religions and eth ic groups in T&T…the chinese don’t do it, the whites don’t do it,the syrians don’t do it the africans (including african muslims) don’t do it….why don’t the Aryan Brahminist(Hindu) women’s association say publicly that “we” INDIANS need to stop this practice? ???

      1. “SWAHA International’s representative, Pundit Gyandeo Persad, said yesterday while members of the IRO were open to suggestions about amendments to the marriage acts, it was insulting for anyone who was not of that religion to tell a religious organisation what to do. “…..Express
        That statement supports your point of view Alyssa. The point I was making about Martin Luther, was not so much of his personal character, but rather one that supports the view that mankind does not grow when we accept habits that might have been invoked by some sex maniac hundreds of years ago needs to be continued in the new age. In the case of Harripersad and Gyandeo Persad they represent the relics of what we are seeing of ancient religion in the modern world. Christianity is not perfect. God is perfect. But what makes christianity important in the lives of us is the fact that it carries one of the greatest messages mankind has set forth to accomplish – that is the message of LOVE. What Harripersad and Gyandeo Persad have displayed is NOT love. What they are demonstrating is the dogma of habits that they don’t want to break, even in the eyes of modern enlightenment. Harripersad more than most, on this issue, has shown imminent reasons why the I.R.O is a sham organization and that there is nothing positive can come out of it. My resolve on this has been consistent and so is Alissa’s, that while the intent is noble, its purpose CANNOT be achieved. Brother Harripersad (if I may call him that), have demonstrated several weaknesses of the I.R.O: (1) It cannot unanimously decide its faith on any issue. (2) To speak for the I.R.O demands consensus. (3) Views expressed as policy MUST (by necessity) represent the intent of most, if not ALL of its members. (4) Lies are a bad omen to use to represent any organization. Harripersad came out insinuating that it is the view of the I.R.O that there is nothing wrong with child marriage.
        He deliberately LIED when he said that his views were that of the I.R.O as an organization. He LIED when he said the view was unanimous. What is true is that the hindu view and the Indian muslim view might be in alignment, they did not AND COULD NOT be the view of the organization. There might be merit to the view that child marriages solidifies the religious purposes of the hindu and Indian muslim religions. Indoctrination of a young mind solidifies an idea, no matter how harmful it can be to their own development. When children make children and the habit is enforced, it makes for a very closed and restricting culture. This is what Harripersad is concluding by his gesture. What is wrong with it is by him saying that the I.R.O condones it. The Archbishop of Port Of Spain is correct in distancing himself from this issue. It is not common, nor has it ever been encouraged, for christians to entertain the idea, that child marriage or young children becoming sexually engaged at an early age is acceptable. This is distinctly and habitually a policy of the hindu and muslim religion in Trinidad and Tobago. Brother Harripersad and the media publicizes the issue as though it is a general practice of the population at large. NO, IT IS NOT and every effort must be made by the christian churches to distance themselves from this fiasco. Brother Harripersad does NOT and CANNOT speak for christianity on this issue and should every means available to make that clear to the public.

      2. The Africans do not marry them. They just make them pregnant at tender, early ages and abandon them.

        1. LOL “The Africans do not marry them. They just make them pregnant at a tender, early age and abandon them.” -Tman
          Tman…the guy in the news who was found with the indecent children in his van, while he himself was indecent…is he an African? Tman?? Is Surujbally an African name…or just look at the picture provided…he looks like Tman’s brother…

        2. Bro Tman just made my point, Sistaz A, and here it is :- Savagery , and dehumanizing behaviors towards women , children, and the poor -as played out in T&T -ain’t limited to one tribe.
          However , let me quit while I am ahead, before you chastise me otra vez, for pandering to our Brown/ Black neo triumphalist- Indo Trini cousins , all for de sake of acquiring some much needed Cyber love.

          Well I’ll be dar…, or as my late , extremely wise , Tobago Granny , would often say , back in de day, to yours truly, ‘well.. wonders never cease!’
          This Neal guy, is pursuing some opaque ,politically correct ,admirable goal of butt slapping-fairness,with his over de top , kumbaya / “why can we not all get along,” Rodney King, or Barack Hussain Obama Boston beer drinking / Professor Gates mantra.

          It is therefore quite clear , dat this intellectual bozo, referred to as Neal, with his idiotic obsession for fairness, is forcing ,and twisting reality ,to enhance his narrative.
          There it is folks. 8 plus years of traversing on dis here, Trini Center Information Highway, , and this is what my views are interpreted as , by Sistaz A-mere, ‘revisionist bull crap.’
          Ok Neal, so here is de deal.
          Stay in your lane , and leave nuance politics ,for the more learned, amongst us.You’ve been out of your T&T for too long.
          That glorified education you acquired, is better suited for wasting another four years , lamenting about the evils, as perpetuated by one segment of our population. It’s a contradiction to try and expose the wrongs that are so common in our society , and the globe at large, by self serving elites ,while avoiding the trap of giving African folks a pass, or better yet ,seek to formulate strategies aimed at their empowerment.
          The question I keep asking again is – ‘what is the end game?’
          “Never cut your nose to spoil your face,” and “sometimes you have to play dead to catch Cobeau alive!”
          Ahhhhh, such Pearls of Wisdom , from de wisest woman dat ever lived. Thanks Granny!
          Trust me when I say Sistaz A, I’m always on point. Nation Building is often times a difficult proposition, but worth a try.
          The fall outs from only holding on to an ancient script, can be disastrous- and no , I’m not talking by guess.History would bear me out on this . I being around in the Global trenches, and cant attest to dat.
          Luv Humanity people.
          Say yes to new politics . Support Civil Society ,and prudent advocacy , as keys to Social Bridge building.
          Yours truly.

  10. Neal, i get you point, but Professor Louis Gates being accosted by a white police officer for entering HIS OWN HOME on harvard’s campus AFTER questioning professor gates and being give ample respnse, THEN Their diplomatic president, invites the racist cop and the victim to have beers and ‘smoothe out’ the issue is NOT a good example!It was NOT a misu derstanding!It was a racist attack
    ! That beer summit was ludicrous! As it put the victim and the ill intended racist on the same plane as if they were ‘BOTH’ wrong!…anyways…Neal, let us be fair yout critiqued my view and post, THEN i in turn did the same to yours….it was not YOU, but your view and post! ALSO…i respect nation building as a concept….i just do not believe in the racist, negro assertion as put forward by the posturing of the likes of Chucky Gordon, yourself and others, that AFRICAN people, in the face of organized racism should simply chuck, jive, extend a ha d and Nationbuild, while ‘the other’ is in constant attack mode….to hell with that! Africans are not the assailants in this ethnic problem, they are the assailed….! You know what Neal?? As i said before, being ‘fair’ at the expense of honesty is a problem…

  11. “The assenting to bills can neither be pre-emptive or instanter (immediate), often dependent upon His Excellency’s consultation and receipt of legal advice.”……Release from the President’s Office.

    Of course this is legal language. It is not meant to tell us what really occurred for the 16 days the SSA Bill remained in the President’s hand. But since he went on to insinuate that he may have consulted with (legal People) and did not mention them by name, maybe for those of us who are still at a loss for his failure to act promptly, should interject why he kept the country in denial for 16 days. When he is unable to explain in simple language, he almost always use his legal skills to hide behind his political persona. There are a few things I must mention before giving my opinions on what I believe the President did during those sixteen days. This is a President who have shown us that he really don’t give a damn what people think of him. He ascended unto the seat of the Presidency vowing that he may display powers that people may not think he has. There were talk from every nook and corner on how well and promising he spoke. Many people ask me “did you read his speech?”. I answered honestly and said “NO”. Up till this day, I am yet to look at his speech but he was heralded all over the country as a bright and promising guy. People really loved this guy and thought that he would make a really good President. BUT THAT WAS THE HOPE. REALITY IS ANOTHER STORY. The first test of the President came when he became whooping mad at a comedienne, when she joked about the dress his wife wore at the United Nations Conference in New York. He displayed a quirky response when he went on to say that he was sending her letter, intending to take her to court. Very foolish behavior for a politician, I might add. Then came news that he was receiving s $28,000.00 a month for private housing, even though he was being housed by the State. Most people thought that was dis honesty on his part. Up till today he never came out to clarify why this is so. Then came the Integrity Commission fiasco, when the Chairman, Zainool Hosein, took it upon himself to declare that email gate was over and the decision to do so was unanimous. This lie caused the deputy Chairman and other members of the Commission to tender their resignations, because Zainool’s mission was more to clear Kamla, than to represent what really went on at the executive level of the Commission. It was not unanimous nor was a truthful decision. The whole country despised Zainool for this but NOT President Carmona. He re-appointed Zainool as Chairman, against the will of the people. Since then, the Integrity Commission has been dubbed the Instrument of Corruption. All because the President saw it fit to re-appoint a flawed Chairman to lead a flawed Commission. This act caused many to question “who is President Carmona?”. But he is not done yet. In his appointing of “independent” members of the Senate, many saw his appointments more as an extension of the UNC than that of independent minded professionals who espoused independent ideals. Now come the SSA Bill!! This bill was furiously denounced by the Opposition. They wanted no part of it because there were changes in the bill that did not just address crimes of drugs. It included corruption and other serious crimes. The bill was passed by the Parliament but strangely, this President, who never allowed a UNC passed Bill to remain more than 24 hours in his person, now find that he needed to have consultation before signing it – 16 days!! Since he needed time for consultation, it is my humble opinion that he may have consulted with Kamla or Anand Ramlogan, Israel Khan or Zainool Hosein or maybe the UNC executive before making his mind up. His delay was called into question by prominent members of the law fraternity.
    Judging from his past and his other behaviors, it can easily be deducted the the President appears to have an obligation to satis the wishes of the Opposition and does not necessarily care for the PNM government. All of his actions taken into account does not make him qualify as an “independent” thinker. In naming his ‘independent’ Senators, he made sure he caucused with them before allowing them to face the Senate. The word ‘independent’ means just that. Independent of thought, independent of actions, independent of associations and of course independent of casting a vote. But again, when we look at the contributions of the independents, we see a trait that is the same as the President – lacking independence. This kind of behavior certainly DOES NOT encourage or enhance democracy, instead, it compromises the very thing that the President has sworn to defend. There is very little that can be said to change the picture of the President, he does not behave as an independent person nor does he talk like someone who has ALL of the country’s folks interest at heart.
    Many see him as dishonest and that he should never return when his present term ends.

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