Picking sense from nonsense
have heard and listened to a plethora of diverse views and opinions
from members of the public at all levelsfrom the ordinary
man in the street, all the way up to CEOs and board directorsand
it seems that many people are highly impassioned about the current
events in the judiciary.
Most are seeing it through rose-coloured lenses of either
allegations of political interference, racial oppression,
or tampering with the independence of the judiciary.
As a result, it becomes quite difficult to pick sense from
nonsense, as regards the comments and views expressed by many
of the players and commentators in the scenario, because it
is quite obvious that some of the comments and statements
are clearly designed to play to particular audiences or groups,
in order to whip up support.
Take, for instance, Basdeo Pandays ridiculous statement
about resorting to violence, which, thankfully, most of the
nation ignored, as being the last desperate yelp, not even
a growl, from a wounded and tired old lion, who appears not
to have the heart or the ability to fight anymore.
Take also, the cries and complaints of interfering with the
independence of the judiciary and the Government having control
of the judiciary.
Again, the emotion of the entire issue has clouded and shrouded
the facts and reality from the eyes of most people, as the
fact is that it is this same judiciary, which, on a daily
basis, rules against the Government in so many cases before
the courts, once it is fit and proper so to do.
There have been so many constitutional motions and judicial
review actions over the years that have gone against the Government,
and the courts have had no hesitation in making these orders
and, in some cases, have harshly criticised the state and
its officers for their failures and failings to do the right
So, it is difficult now to conceive of this present situation
having any effect of undermining or tampering with the independence
of the judiciary.
Look at the facts. Even in the heat of the battle, Justice
Judith Jones has stood up and faced down the organs of the
state and has successively issued injunctions against them.
Clearly, this is not the action of a judiciary which lacks
Its left to be seen whether her decisions are right
or wrong, but she clearly held fast to her independence, made
her orders, and let the chips fall where they may.
When Chief Justice Bernard was hauled before the courts by
the now deceased Justice Crane, in an epic battle which went
all the way to the Privy Council, there were similar cries
that the independence of the judiciary could be affected,
yet the judiciary emerged from that battle stronger, more
vibrant and more robust than ever.
When Michael de la Bastide, as the sitting Chief Justice,
had his running battles with then Attorney General Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj under the UNC administration, again cries
of tampering with the independence of the judiciary were raised,
but the judiciary was able to still preserve its independence
and remain an institution which acts as a bulwark against
government or state excesses or abuses.
Even when de la Bastide himself had his ding dong battle through
the courts over the issue with the registrar of the court,
there was panic.
But once again, the judicial ship remained steady enough to
navigate its way through those rough waters and emerge with
its independence intact.
It actually seems that the post of Chief Justice has become
a veritable hot seat, with each of the last couple office-holders
becoming embroiled in one legal battle or another, and with
the usual hue and cry, but the independence of the judiciary
has remained unscathed.
This is not to say that we must not remain eternally vigilant
and watchful, but we must also not forget our history, and
we must be able to look back and see that our judiciary has
a strong, proud tradition of independence which it will not
give up easily.
As regards the cries of racial oppression and discrimination,
as uttered by Panday et al, it again reeks of a ludicrous,
desperate rallying cry, to appeal to our baser, tribal instincts,
which only serves to mask and obfuscate the true issues at
It is a complaint which can hardly bear scrutiny and which,
when exposed to the harsh light of reality, will be exposed
as hollow, baseless and irrelevant.
One has only to look at the players and the people who have
been rallying around the Chief Justice and giving him support
in his time of need.
His lead attorney is Russell Martineau, his close friend and
confidant, who stood by him as he staved off his impending
So, before we rush to all sorts of crazy and calamitous conclusions,
let us all just step back a bit and engage in some critical
analysis of the facts, and try to pick sense from nonsense.
Because, at the end of the day, when all is said and done,
the issues surrounding the Chief Justice are going to come
down to a question of Did he, or didnt he?
That is the question.