The Captain has become deeply concerned about the psychotic prancing of the current regime on the issue of ousting the Privy Council as the highest court of appeal in Trinidad & Tobago. It’s not simply a matter of ‘they should have their own’. The issue of prime importance is the quality of justice. My blog today is inspired by Anand Beharrylal – a top class lawyer of Trinidadian origins working in London and the so-called Caribbean. Mr Beharrylal (and I call him by surname out of pure respect) has written a very important letter in the TT Express (2012-04-29): Don't blame UK court for delays. This letter is of such importance that it is attached as a PDF (to avoid any chance of its disappearance). Read carefully Mr Beharrylal’s letter – and watch carefully for the risk of creating a legalised situation that makes lawful that which is grossly illegal by any principle of justice.
The Cap and the Jumbie having both sat together and separately observing the workings of the Law Lords at the Privy Council. How many people can truly understand the complex legal issues that the law lords at the PC have to balance? Even lawyers from England and T&T struggle at the PC. How I know? I've sat in on three cases and seen for myself. The Law Lords run rings around them. They are like highly skilled surgeons, knowing where to cut, what to cut, and just how deep to cut. It's beautiful to see the them in action. And when you see it you are in awe!!
Jumbie has written a very good analysis of the limitations of attempting divert part of the criminal appeals to the Privy Council and direct them to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Please ask yourself – what are the main drivers for all this. Is it primarily about a better more efficient delivery of justice?
Successive administrations have failed the people of this country to put right the machinery of justice. It is a leaking, squeaking and decrepit machinery of justice - not fit for 21st Century – that has led us to where we are. The emphasis now on CCJ, Privy Council an cost wastage etc is pure balderdash.
The system of justice in T&T has been dumbed down by successive regimes and left in neglect. Take for example that in 2009, the Judiciary requested $349M for the running of the entire court system... the Manning government granted a whopping $42.5 M. But a $65M down payment on a private jet costing some $300M was not a problem. Anybody spot a problem yet? Allyuh bline (aka blind) or what!!? I’m speechless now on this point.
Some may have forgotten the failed attempt of the Capital Offences Bill (2011) to make legal that which was in breach of very basic principles of fairness and Human Rights. In other words the Bill had sought to make legal that which was profoundly unjust. How many of you have read the Capital Offences Bill (2011)? It is probably a classic example of a poorly drafted piece of legislation. When you read it you can see easily that it is designed to 'kill' -to bypass anything that may be seen as a 'legal obstacle'. It would have been truly 'murder legalised'.
These are dangerous times. I urge the people of T&T to stop believing the trash they are being fed. Find independent learned sources of information. Get to the facts. The Constitution of a Country is the highest order of law. It is not to be tinkered with by fools who do not spot where the real problems lie!
The Captain has written before on the extra-judicial killing of Glen Ashby in 1994. See: Dodging the Privy Council. It was the United Nations Human Rights Committee that found there was an extra-judicial killing. After some searching I’ve finally caught up with the official ‘decision’ of the UN Human Rights Committee - Communication No. 580/1994. Read it below. This is primarily a matter of justice.2002 UN HRC on Glen Ashby Trinidad Extra Judicial Killing