The country is reeling from the shock of the kidnapping of
Vindra Naipaul. She is one of the most humble, charitable
and spiritual people I have had the pleasure of meeting.
All the good things that you may have read about her are true
and a lot more can be said. Another woman snatched. Another
Indian business person and their family traumatised and hurt
in the country of their birth.
The Guardian editorial got it right when it stated it was
now clear that the Government could not guarantee the safety
of its citizens. How on earth did we get to this stage?
The timing of the kidnapping could not be more embarrassing
The Government was just boasting about a significant decrease
and asking for an extension to its no-bail for kidnappers
Problem is that ad hoc law has been in place for the past
year and it still hasnt solved the problem. The short
point is you have to first catch the kidnapper to refuse him
More importantly, the weakness of the criminal justice system
has been exposed and laid bare for all to see, as kidnappers
and murderers walk out of the Hall of Justice smiling.
The police cant catch them, and the criminal justice
system cannot effectively prosecute the ones that are caught.
This law will not solve anything. It is like fixing a leak
when the whole roof needs changing.
Given the enormous resources at its disposal, shouldnt
the Government get its priorities in order and pump money
into the administration of justice?
Instead of trying to deny bail to kidnappers and ensure a
speedy trial, shouldnt the objective be to provide an
efficient and effective system of criminal justice, in which
all serious cases are tried within 90 days?
Gerald Gopaul was kidnapped and beheaded in July, 2005. The
preliminary inquiry has only just begun. Its not the
magistrates and the judges to blame.
They work tirelessly. The backlog that led to the resignation
of Justice David Myers is testimony to this. He was/is a fair
and hard-working judge, and it was a joy to present cases
He is a victim of an overworked, under-resourced judiciary,
and paid the ultimate price for his early enthusiasm. Im
going to miss him.
This is not to say that the judiciary is perfect. Listen to
the plight of Pundit Chaitram Hargobin, from Ramai Trace in
Debe, whose family was robbed and brutalised.
Pundit walked in on the robbery in broad daylight and was
chased by four youths. Save one, they were eventually captured
by the police, who had to wade through a lagoon to hold them.
The gold they had just stolen from Pundits home was
found in the mens pockets. Their getaway car was still
in Pundits yard, where it crashed in a failed attempt
to run him over.
Although one bandit escaped, three were held. The case was
called twice in Siparia Magistrates Court, and the court was
informed that the pundit was receiving threats.
He was being asked to drop the case or else his family would
be kidnapped. Incredibly, bail was granted by the court in
They silenced a two-year-old girl by forcing a cushion on
her face. They were caught red-handed, with the jewelry on
If they make bail, then the court has put the pundits
family at serious risk. Why should such a matter even be adjourned?
Martin Joseph might be right in saying that debt-collection
by musclemen is what started kidnappings, but what he does
not realise is that this is in itself a direct consequence
of the failing justice system.
Businessmen are forced to turn to strongmen to bully and intimidate
debtors, because it takes way too long to get justice in the
It is a crime to write a bounce cheque, but unless
you have connections in the Police Service, you simply cannot
get them to charge and prosecute anyone.
Some officers even demand a small fee or percentage
from businessmen to provide this service.
The breakdown of law and order is a direct result of the Governments
failure to improve the administration of justice.
No amount of ole talk can change that!