Noble: A nation, moral leadership, short-sightedness; standing at the gates of Hell

“Hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy.”

Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel Prize Laureate.

Photo: Former UNC Attorney General Anand Ramlogan (centre) and Senator Gerald Ramdeen (far left) have been charged with corruption.

The spectacle of a former Attorney General being hauled before the courts is a heavy load to bear, but the nation, struggling to lift itself out of the miry clay of despair, is still being pushed down as though we must collectively drown.

Sober minds must be weary of the pall that hangs so thickly and in such a stifling manner over our nation. It is as though the smog and stench that rest on the Beetham landfill now envelop our entire country. How much more can we bear?

We have witnessed an appalling lack of ‘intelligence’ by our police in the raid in Gulf City. The reports make me remember Jacques Closeau of Pink Panther fame, except that Inspector actually solved crime even if accidentally.

This clumsy search was more ridiculous than the one on Buju Banton’s hotel rom. Maybe it was too early to expect the overhaul promised after the Buju debacle?

Can one now understand that we are all subject to whimsical raids? Just the colour of our house is sufficient evidence? Can we talk about this? No, not cloaked in national security concerns but can we really discuss what are the parameters for such action?

We keep looking with great interest at the stand off between the Commissioner of Police and the lawyers representing Sat to understand the limits of police intrusion into our workplaces and homes.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) poses with iconic Jamaican dancehall star Buju Banton.

But as a gift that never stops giving, in jumps a religious leader. His view is that the search is racially motivated! He ignores the siege and utter disrespect that large swaths of our community suffer. We make fun of them when they call for justice. Why? Because we are rich and do not live in such deprived circumstances.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost, what did the Pundit imagine would be achieved by his ascribing of racist motives to the action? Critical thinking is not the strong suit of many who hold a microphone.

Our Opposition Leader chose not to reprimand but to broaden the victimhood, choosing to politicise the situation. She shut down the conversation about policing—for which our Commissioner is probably happy—blaming the entire affair on laws made by Parliament.

She and the loyal Opposition are our defenders but in spite of their best efforts, we have bad law. Or so the narrative goes. She lays it at Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s feet.

“In the face of ambiguity, uncertainty, and conflicting demands, the quality of a leader’s judgment determines the fate of the entire organization. That’s why judgment is the essence of leadership.”

Tichy and Bennis (2009).

Are we well-served by the ‘law making’ comment? Are we swiping at a vital institution for momentary gain?

Photo: An irate Carenage resident, who identified himself as the son of slain WPC Bernadette James, makes a point to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Dr Rowley came face to face with the consequences of giving the police a free pass. His constituents suffered the same fate as the Laventille Five in October 2018. Same story line: police was shot at—bullet proof vest saves the lone injured police—but many dead.

Our bandits cannot shoot straight when confronted by the police. Dr Rowley correctly emphasises the need for due process, but never addresses the knee-jerk reaction of the Commissioner’s defence of ‘his men’. Did he tell the Commissioner about due process and about visiting, like he did with Buju, to make peace? Or is it a case of being unequal in this town?

Are Buju and the Jamaicans more equal than us? Does he now understand the pain in our communities, or does he think that they deserve what is meted out? How many more lives will become collateral damage?

Is there need for police training in handling volatile situations? How do we win over the good people who live among bad people? Any thoughts, Dr Rowley?

Our Opposition Leader, in defending the ‘very good’ lawyers, sees the trial in electioneering terms. But this is not about their lawyering skills. This is about whether they acted in an unseemly fashion.

She ignores that Mr Vincent Nelson is a Queen’s Counsel and that good lawyers take copious contemporaneous notes. The fingers, that drop acid on social media, are empowered to cast shadows on our courts and due process?

Photo: Opposition Leader and ex-Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Frederic Dubray)

Ignoring the salutary effect of whistle blowing as a means of holding powerful people accountable—as in the recent case of Angostura—the entire Opposition bench voted against that bill. To what end?

She waits an entire weekend for Mr Gerald Ramdeen to resign. The Senate, already soiled by his previous escapades, suffers more damage in the waiting. She calls for the removal of Dr Lester Forde, who according to news reports, got a conditional discharge without conviction to the charge of drunk driving according to section 71 (1) (b) of the Summary Courts Act and who is on a bond.

The DPP had taken control of that case. Is this carelessness or throwing mud or a rookie mistake?

Are we giving voice to the resurrected old racial bogeyman—‘all of them is thief’—with the potential for irreparable division? Are we unseeing or uncaring?

Liu said, “I hope that I’m not the type of person who, standing at the doorway to hell, strikes a heroic pose and then starts frowning with indecision.”

Who the cap fits, let them wear it!

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