Feb 07, 2017
No matter how strongly we feel about the sloth and negative dimensions of the judicial system, we have to respect the rule of law. A judge may be biased in favour of the State; another may not like the leadership of the government, but you invite chaos and breakdown if you denigrate a trial that is going on.
You should not try to influence a court case. It can backfire on you. When it is your turn, someone may try to do the same. It is best for the sake of civilized society to respect the rule of law. After the case is over, you can add your analysis without being insulting to the judge or magistrate. In my opinion a number of magistrates are too mediocre and do not wear thinking caps, so I would not support their continuing on the bench. In fact, I would welcome their exit.
I have a case before one such magistrate and I will not comment on what happened in the anti-parking meter picket line last Friday, out of respect for the rule of law.
A well-known PPP activist and a security detail attached to Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who is on trial accused of assaulting me during the hegemony of Jagdeo, looked at me and said hello with a smile as I joined the picket. I ignored him. When I thought of doing this column, I agreed to myself that I would describe how I felt about him knowing that he approached me during the protest. But I held back because the case is still going on. But his friendly gesture to me reminded me of the nature of the PPP and the power it once wielded.
I saw a number of former powerful PPP personnel in the protest and I froze. I asked myself if I should be there. But I had an obligation to the people who were brave enough to summon the protest, to the thousands who cannot afford the monthly outlay from their salaries to pay for parking and to the cause of justice.
I did not join a PPP protest. I participated in a demonstration whose content was wholesome for me. It was none of my business which other persons wanted to join in.
If there is another protest, I would lend physical support. I will not be bothered by the PPP content of the protest. But one has to admit, there will always be a feeling of uneasiness as you watch these people from the former PPP Government denounce the new Coalition Government.
There was Bibi Shadick, former PPP parliamentarian and Minister. There were people from the Indian Arrival Committee. There were current PPP Parliamentarians in the protest; and many other PPP mandarins.
The irony permeated the afternoon sun. Here were a group of people who twenty months ago ran this country as if it was their private playground. But that wasn’t the only sick aspect of the irony. City Hall arranged a counter-picket and many City Hall staff members were in the counter-demonstration.
Two of them told me they were requested to participate. So here you had PPP leaders involved in a demonstration and the power-holders staged a counter-protest, a style of action the PPP activists in the picket last Friday are experts on.
Remember in 2012, the Opposition began to chop the budget of the Ramotar Government, and suddenly like a thunderstorm out of nowhere, crowds of people descended upon Parliament denouncing the cuts. They were from the Ministries and public sector agencies, and were coerced to participate.
One young lady from the Ministry of Finance told me that a circular was sent out requesting staff to picket. She named the person who signed the circular. I cannot identify him here because people in this country sue for the most innocuous statements, and frankly I don’t have time with such fools to be climbing a court step.
Two staff members of NCN told me they were literally forced to go outside Parliament and picket against the opposition’s cuts to certain line items in the budget.
The interesting aspect of the PPP involvement in the anti-parking meter agitation last Friday outside City Hall was both the amusement and the shock on the faces of the PPP picketers, as they saw the counter-demonstrators with their loud chants and denunciations.
It reminded me of the 2012 agitations that the PPP Government organized outside the National Assembly. Hundreds of young men and women were simply coerced to go and shout down the then opposition parliamentarians. Will these same PPP agitators picket against Brassington and Keith Burrowes?