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Carnival in Lent

Sunday, March 11, 2018

With the Carnival season having officially ended at midnight on Carnival Tuesday, it appears that there are lingering elements of a Carnivalesque nature that have overtaken the public square now that we are in the Lenten season.

One main element of this is the discussion emanating out of the Special Select Committee of the House of Representatives that is investigating the process by which a nomination was made by the Police Service Commission to the President for a Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police.

The second element has to do with the ongoing soap opera inside of the Judiciary of this country that continues to draw gasps from time to time as it plays itself out. The latest controversy about the assignment of judicial sabbatical leave benefits has caused a major uproar among judges as the Chief Justice prepares to proceed on sabbatical leave from today.

With assistance from the Twitter account of CNC3 Morning Brew host Hema Ramkissoon, the actual letter from the Chief Justice to President Anthony Carmona dated February 26, 2018, was revealed and the public got to see what was actually stated by Chief Justice Archie on his sabbatical leave.

Within the last few days, the Chief Justice’s sabbatical leave has now taken the lead in the homestretch in what was originally shaping up to be a photo finish between the Police Commissioner notification and the Chief Justice’s performance of duty.

There is no doubt now that two main arms of law enforcement in this country are engaged in a homestretch duel to determine which one can undermine the confidence of the society in two of its law enforcement institutions (the Judiciary and the Police Service Commission).

The hedonistic nature of our society will ensure that all of this continues to be treated with the same level of blissful ignorance that has been associated with serious challenges in our society that go by without a whimper of public concern.

So far, concerns have been confined to political and legal elites who have a vested interest in these matters, but the rest of civil society seems largely unconcerned. However, other judges are now publicly calling for Archie to go. This is serious.

Most things pass off as just another joke on another day that can range from the sea bridge between our islands to the imaginary Great Wall of China that has prevented any prior prime ministerial intervention until now.

The Chief Justice’s sabbatical leave is an issue that has finally caught the attention of the Office of the Prime Minister. The timing comes just when there is a transition about to occur in the Office of the President. That could be an ominous sign for the Chief Justice, because this is the first time that the Prime Minister has decided to attempt to climb onto his mythical Great Wall of China to ask any questions of the Chief Justice or the President on any matter pertaining to the office of the Chief Justice.

The appearance of Minister Stuart Young taking a public stand to question the so-called benefit that was mentioned in the 98th Salaries Review Commission Report “in principle” was a powerful statement by the Prime Minister. Whenever Stuart Young speaks, it is the Prime Minister speaking.

Meanwhile, over at the Parliament on the Waterfront Complex, it was not smooth sailing for the former chairman and other members of the Police Service Commission at the hands of committee chairman Fitzgerald Hinds. The tempo got so hot during last week’s session that MP Ganga Singh had to ask chairman Hinds whether he was badgering the witness, former chairman Dr Maria Gomes.

Also taking some heat at these hearings was the accounting firm KPMG which had been paid $3.1 million to assist the Police Service Commission with their task of selecting nominees for CoP and DCP.

Carnival in Lent continues.


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