22 Sep 2016

Sweet like a Prosecco

Life on the Rock is sweet like a Prosecco wine apparently. Especially for the President, who seems to be a typical ole boy controlled by the greatest treasure on earth… the Bearded Clam!

What else would explain giving a contract to his wife’s former ‘stylist’ (someone say ‘flesh-coloured belt’?) to import  wine to the value of $1.2 millions? Okay, let’s be fair to the Prez, it’s TT dollars, not US. And it’s for a 2 years period so I can assume that he is not courting said bearded clam with sparkling wine baths. Or is he?

In the meantime, the judiciary is still treated like a stray dog; starved for funds.

Never before has a President of Trinidad and Tobago been mired in so many financial controversies. Aside from 2 pensions (one as a judge – which will be scaled up whenever the sitting judges get a raise - and one as President, also scaled) he has collected a housing allowance while being provided with State Housing and has refused to return said allowance received. A neat sum of $28K.

And there are allegations of public spending on jewellery as well, not only wine. All in all, this writer sees that the President is controlled by the bearded clam, and his public policies and actions are affected by his thirst.

17 Sep 2016

Jumbie’s First Law hits Israel Khan

Fighting hard today for the hairy cacahole award is no other than Attorney Israel Khan.

2016-09-17

In response to Chief Justice Archie’s plea for the abolition of jury trials to speed up and unclog the criminal judicial system, Khan had a surprisingly backward view: ‘Only a dictator or a fool will support it.’

Perhaps Khan is unaware that may common law jurisdictions around the world have done away with juries in certain types of trials; in India, juries have been completely removed.

Reasons for not having juries are numerous. Aside from lack of legal knowledge, juries are inherently prone to mistakes, partly from said lack of legal knowledge but also from various biases and ‘Googling’ to find out more about the case and personnel involved. It works in reverse too – lawyers Googling jurors to find their weaknesses and exploit them.

At 1:20 minutes in this video, Khan further shoves his foot deeper into his gob: “The jury trial exists in the common law and is codified in the Constitution.”

That phrase in italics is an outright lie. The Constitution says no such thing. What the Constitution says at Section 5(f)(ii) that no person charged with a criminal offence may be deprived of the right: to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

The 4 main arguments brought to support jury trials do not stand up to scrutiny. And less than 3% of criminal trials have a jury anyway according to former UN Appeals Judge Geoffrey Robertson QC:

In crime, too, the jury has a reduced role. 97% of criminal cases are decided by lay justices or district judges, who may impose prison sentences of up to a year (in cases of contempt of court, heard by judges alone, the sentence may be two years).

So Khan is speaking from a very uninformed position, and would do well to hobble his gob for a bit.

28 Jul 2016

Finally – sense

Finally, after so many have thought and believed it, lived it and grieved in it, a voice of authority has said it:

“There is also a tendency for medical professionals to band together and very often there is an unwillingness by professionals to express opinions that condemn or criticise the work of fellow professionals...” [Justice Frank Seepersad]

This is hardly surprising news. I wonder though that Justice Rampersad had the balls to articulate this – the tendency as we know it is to pretend it doesn’t happen. I say hurrah for him, but time will tell if his statement makes any difference. I personally think it was akin to a fart in a tornado, but who am I to judge the judge?

16 Jul 2016

Thought of the Day

“Ignorance can be fixed; stupidity can’t.”

Jumbie 16/07/2016

15 Jul 2016

Patrick Manning, Sat Maharaj and Racism

So Sat Maharaj is his usual belligerent self in accusing Patrick Manning of being racist toward ‘Indian’ people for closing Caroni (1975) Ltd while he (Manning) was Prime Minister. Maharaj is no stranger to racist comments, nor to divisiveness nor to… idiotic comments. He certainly hasn't mellowed or grown wiser in his dotage… sorry, old age.

For the most part, I tend to disagree with Maharaj. He is not a pleasant person by any means, and his view are often at odds with proper, logical thinking.

Keith Rowley is correct when he said that there was no evidence that Manning was personally liable for the decisions of the Feroza Ramjohn case, coupled with a case brought by Ganga Persad Kissoon, in both cases Manning used his power of veto to deny them promotions. The Privy Council was clear:

With regard to the dismissal of the Prime Minister's appeals in both cases, the Board would add only this. There is no question here of the Prime Minister having acted otherwise than in good faith in each case. The Board's decision is simply that in the very particular circumstances of these two cases, on the evidence put before the reviewing courts, the decision-making processes can be seen to have been unfair to the respective officers concerned.

However, there was no denying that he was in charge of a government whose members and supporters were found to be discriminatory to ‘Indian’ people. The evidence shows this. Whether he himself was racist therefore becomes moot.

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