6 Jan 2015

Culturally Normal

Some few days ago, a disabled man in a wheelchair, complete with hanging colostomy bag, was battered in a most disturbing manner on High Street, San Fernando. Yes, he was assaulted too.

Now, if you pay attention, you can see that the plain clothes duncey is a much bigger fella in size than the victim. He’s also a fit bloke. He clouts the victim across the side of his face, and over the ear, no question about it, a painful blow. No question too that an open hand slap, coupled with addressing the victim as ‘boy’ is meant to demean and shame the victim.

Subsequently, it was revealed that the victim, Robbie Ramcharitar is a patient ‘living’ at San Fernando Teaching Hospital (apparently the name was changed) and according to Dr Fuad Khan, is mentally abnormal. He then ordered that Ramcharitar be sent to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital.

Khan had instructed that Ramcharitar be sent to St Ann’s based on his behaviour and also because he was practically living at the San Fernando hospital for the past six months, taking up bed space.

Now, Khan did not speak to or interview Ramcharitar. He came to that conclusion after watching this minute and a half video clip!!

As a man who formerly spent his days feeling up limp penises, Khan displays a remarkable new talent for diagnosing mental disorder. He now comes into great company, with Therese Cornelis-Baptiste and Verna St Rose-Greaves.

The main question for now is this: Does Khan have the legal authority to order a patient to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital for evaluation given that:

  • He is not the patient’s doctor, and has no input in his care.
  • He is not a manager in the institution where the man is currently being treated.
  • He is not a psychiatrist, has had no direct contact and made his judgment from 1:30 minutes of video.
  • The Mental Health Act is quite specific as to how patients can be sent for evaluation/admission.

This brings up again, the subject of the Rule of Law and has reminded me of two cases where people were treated contrary to the Rule of Law where they were seen as less than the rest of us:

  1. Cheryl Miller sent to St Ann’s against her will.
  2. Terrence Calix treated differently because he was homeless.

Both these cases are similar in that conditions and circumstances showed that the authorities and agents thereof acted ultra vires (outside the law).

As the Privy Council has said, a person’s oddity of character, low standing in society or personal circumstances, does not make him/her less than others. It is however, normal for Khan to ‘feel he is boss’.

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