4 Apr 2012

Ramgoat Salvation

Anand Ramlogan is no Hardy boy. I had been an admirer of his stance on certain issues when he was a columnist at the Guardian, I shudder now that he suddenly backtracked on those same issues, and has provided on many an occasion, some rather evasive and wispy excuses/reasons.

However, the impact he has had on the local people as a knight for the underdog has always been motivated by a certain greed, something which I am very familiar with since I had approached him on a legal matter myself. It was more than a decade ago, but the incident remains clear in my mind to this day, and I can see him in my mind even now, as he spouted his crap across the desk to me.

This morning however, I am minded and inspired to write this post based upon an article that I saw in the Trinidad Guardian: Veera quits AG’s office after 5 days.

Attorney Veera Bhajan, who was born without arms, walked away from her job at the Office of the Attorney General last November after just five days. She felt her integrity was being compromised. Bhajan, 23, made the statement yesterday before 250 students at the second day of the Atlantic/Ministry of Sport Leadership Symposium at the Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.

According to the UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados graduate, she began working at the office after earning her Bachelor of Laws degree in May last year, originally dealing with mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. After being presented to the Bar by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on October 28, she started work as an attorney the next Monday.

By the end of the working week, however, she decided to resign. She told the students: “It was all excitement when I started because it was my first real job. “I had a vision in my brain since I was six years old that I wanted to be an attorney-at-law and it never went away, no matter what was thrown at me. “So I went to work on Monday and left the job on the Friday.

“I will say this to you, wherever you go in life and you feel that your character and your integrity are being taken away from you in some way or the other, I say walk away. “There is nothing more important than your character and integrity.” Bhajan has yet to find employment as an attorney in the months since resigning, though she continues to make appearances as a motivational speaker.

The emphasis is mine.

Note however, that Ms Bhajan had a rude awakening into the workings of the Office of the AG, yet had the strength of character to walk away with her integrity intact. Not many lawyers do. Many succumb to the lust for monetary gain and power that comes from ‘recognition’. Hubris, nuh.

More than the strength to walk away though, is the fact that ‘she felt her integrity was being compromised’. What shenanigans are at work in the AG’s office to warrant such a final, irrevocable step from a young woman starting out in life?

And note also that she is unable to find employment since then. For a bright young lawyer, consistently in the news for her academic achievements,  to not find work is surely an indication that some sort of word has been passed behind pursed lips to make that happen. A ‘blacklisting’ of sorts, even if not on an ‘official’ list.

Won’t that, if it happened, surely make people pause to think that the inner workings of the AG’s office is severely compromised, to the extent that one lawyer cannot work there and is thereby stifled? For me, this is a mockery of the purpose of the Office, and smacks of shady dealings.

I don’t know that other information will come to light… governments have a lot of clout in muzzling people. Still, this raises many questions.

Ida Ramesar wrote a story published in Backfire, called Ramgoat Salvation. Once can only hope that the AG similarly sees the ‘light’ as it were and realises the same salvation.