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JUDGE NOT! FIRED BY PRISONERS! By Rae Samuel

posted 28 Apr 2017, 09:24 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 28 Apr 2017, 09:34 ]
The recently appointed High Court judge has resigned as the fiasco involving her ill-advised appointment joins the headlines re: the new failing/sailing boat to Tobago, the property tax debacle in the making and Comedy Central's latest re-run from Colm the entertainer whose latest CD 'I an' all vex with this tax' was released this week

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Image result for prisoners in port of spaint us be clear. It was only direct action by the prisoners at the Magistrates court in Port of Spain that led to her 'resignation'. No amount of statements by juridical bodies, law associations and concerned citizens was going to have the impact that the action of the prisoners did.

One can only imagine what echo effect of having the part heard matters, deferred ad infinitum, would have had. Nor do I imagine, rightly or wrongly, that the 'rioting' prisoners are out of the judicial woods yet. How long again, and again, and again will these matters take, given her once honorable justice of the High Court will be returning to the trenches so to speak? There is no need to hurry since it is unlikely that re-appointment beckons, once these matters are concluded.

Could this have been avoided? Yes on the 'Afternoon Drive' show on Power 102 "Skippy'' Thomas raised the issue before the announcements were made. Subsequently Senator Ramdeen took up the matter, as did the Law Association. But it seems that the Judicial and Legal Service commission headed by the Chief Justice and apparently a law unto itself went ahead. We see the outcome.

Ms. Ayers-Caesar has proffered her resignation. As Skippy irreverently said she did not even get a chance to wear silk and demand that she be called M'lud (M’lady?). The resignation sounds like an arrangement to have her take the blame. To suggest that the Commission did not know that she had matters outstanding is to suggest that they failed in their responsibilities and duties. Reminds one of the fiasco involving the Dimanche Gras finalist 2017 who, according to the rules of the competition, was not eligible in the first place. So they let her compete rather than enforce the rules and show up the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Calypsonians Organisation.

Is this the end of the matter? Far from it! Accused continue to languish at the State's pleasure. In times gone by some, under special circumstance, were detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure, though it is hard to see how Ms. Elizabeth or her representatives could have been pleased with such (except if it was Fagan being detained for pleasuring purposes, but as Ramjohn Ali would say, I digress). Today one is detained without trial at the State's pleasure.

Why can’t matters be heard at the prison itself? C’mon, dear friends, there is money, real money in transporting, feeding, supervising prisoners away from the detention centre. There are all those connected with the 'administration of justice'': clerks, bailiffs, lawyers and this process continues day by day. If a matter is deferred within 10 minutes, the day unfolds the same way.

Anyone familiar with prison writings from George Jackson’s Soledad Brother, Malcolm X's Autobiography, Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver; anyone who listens to Mr. Wayne Chance on the radio, anyone who engages with persons released from long detention, knows what it takes to survive prison.

Yet these same offenders, who accept that they have paid their debt to society, show and tell that it is even more difficult to survive outside, supposedly having paid their debt to society. For many of them 'society' behaves like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund “assisting” a developing country: you never get out of debt!

What's next? Oh that is easy: more police in riot gear, more army patrols and, sooner rather than later, Gary Griffith's dream of armoured carriers on the streets will come true. But the prisons will continue to fill up, and the 'broken men/women', as George Jackson called them, will be among us in increasing number.

And neither prayers nor curses will help!
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