1 Sep 2011

Pearls before swine?

Hmm, this morning [31st August, 2011] I see Gladys Gafoor is to be recipient of a Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold). I cannot say I agree with this; enough evidence was put forward that this woman is a criminal who was given a free pass by the authorities. Cashing a dead man’s cheque is against the law, fraud against the State [the cheques were issued by the State]. Moving on…

I’ve deliberately withheld these thoughts for the past 2 or 3 days, preferring instead to rethink and observe whether my thoughts bear fruit as I see it. Alas, all my observations point me toward the following:

The typical Trinidadian/Tobagonian is a rubber-lipped, gum-bumping buffoon, clearly devoid of basic intelligence, and/or basic education; eager to venture opinion on matters in which s/he has little understanding, training or education. To make it worse, they demonstrate little evidence of critical thinking. And I say this with the utmost regard for the evidence they provided to justify this opinion.

Take for example, the situation with the teen ‘Granny Quila’ who threatened the Prime Minister via a video posted on YouTube and later on FaceBook. Using only this situation, the evidence to support my opinion is overwhelming.

For one thing… Rockians keep comparing the threats Sasha Mohammed aka ‘Janice Thomas’ made against the reporters of the Trinidad Express, such as this comment by one Marchalis, “One law for Sasha Mohammed, another law for kids.”... This is erroneous on a number of fronts. The most obvious are:

  • The threats coming from Sasha’s computer were written. The IP address was confirmed but no identification was made as to whom issued the emails. “Police were seeking to charge Mohammed under the Amendment of the Offences against the Persons Act Chapter 11:08 Act No. 11 of 2005 which deals with harassment.” The one from ‘Granny Quila’ is a video in which she is clearly seen issuing the threat. And a different statute applies. Not only this, she made such threats against a sitting Head of State, and during a State of Emergency – these two factors alone makes her offence significantly more serious than ‘Sasha’s’. The two situations cannot be compared, being different, but also that each case must be judged upon its own merits/demerits.
  • An argument is being made that Sasha is an adult while ‘Granny’ is a child of a mere 14 years; the word ‘child’ an obvious attempt to brainwash us into thinking innocence, ignorance, mistake etc. Keep in mind that Sean Luke was killed by two young criminals not much different in age from this young terrorist. One was a mere 13 years old! Not much sympathy for those two has ever been shown by the same population so intent on defending this young lady. As an aside, since May 8 2006, Gaspard yesterday announced that the State was ready to proceed in the matter. Magistrate Ayers-Caesar adjourned the case to May 16. Odd that 5+ years later this case still has not been heard.

Now one chap asked the question: “But as she is a child, under the age of majority. Can she be held wholly accountable...?”

My response was: “Yes. Unfortunately, in absence of statute clarifying the age of criminal responsibility, common law takes over. The age in common law is 7. Most places have statute putting the age from 8 to 12... she would have been done in anyway.”

My response is a factual response, not an opinion. It was something I checked before posting. Trinidad and Tobago currently has no statute clarifying the age of criminal responsibility! Hence the common law age applies. The reaction? A whole lot of negative comments and ‘thumbs down’ on the Express website. This indicates to me that Rockians cannot recognise facts if you slap them in the face with it. Or they choose to ignore facts in preference for bacchanalised [my word] opinion.

Hear this other fool: “What the child did was wrong, but if I recall from the Sasha Mohamed issue is that cyber bullying is not a crime.

Wait I forgot we do not have a constitution and can be arrested at the whim and fancy of the government...”

Again, dealing with the first part of the statement… they are 2 different issues. On the 2nd part, regarding not having a Constitution, this is such an asinine remark, I feel even the ass will be insulted. Clearly, the Constitution is what gives the conditions for a State of Emergency. Secondly, the Government cannot arrest at its ‘whim and fancy’.. even if that were the case (and I am not saying that the dunceys will not abuse their powers of arrest; I know enough of them to know some will), there have been independent safeguards put in place should some of the aggrieved care to use them.

Then along come fool #3: “She apologized before authorities clamped down on her. exactly, before it [the apology video] turn criminal”

Okay, let me point out that once the video, the first one,  was created  and posted, it was already criminal. It need not have been viewed to be criminal.

And fool #4: “And when did Reshmi leave her post? Only after they caught her and found out she's a duncey head.”

Sigh… 2 different issues, won’t you know? Comparing apples and oranges never gave a comprehensible answer.

And fool #5: “you know she is a child right? and do you knw that she has rights? and why should she made a n example of? Sasha should have been made an example of”

With rights comes responsibilities… my full response was:

One of the first questions that stumped me, even before I began to study law was by a friend who asked me "What is a right"? He correctly pointed out to me that most persons who argue passionately over rights aren't even aware of what a right is. Like most persons in this forum of the Express.

The second point I want to make is that once one begins to study law, one learns that rights are not endless. All rights have limitations imposed by responsibilities. For example, the right to freedom of expression is limited by the responsibilities to not commit slander or libel or defamation. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand and neither stands alone.

One of the really surprising things I learnt about law, and not one perpetuated by (American especially) TV dramas, is that the law is dispassionate. By this I mean that it is applied evenly, without personal regard to the parties involved. So the age of a 14 years old is not more significant that that of a 35 years old or an 80 years old in similar circumstances. Nor whether they are male/female, gay/hetero, etc. While the law is dispassionate, that is not to say that a judge cannot take into account individual circumstances at sentencing.

Persons may not like what I say on this forum. But I call it as I see it with evidence to back up my position. How many can say the same?

Like I later said, trying to educate this small Island mentality is like casting pearls before swine… still, one or two have shown that not all is lost… the pace of development though is creeping.