Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thank you, President Carmona! - the Peter O'Connor commentaery

If you felt a twinge of deja vu reading my headline, then you are remembering some of my former columns. Almost to the week, five years ago, on Sunday 2nd March 2008, I wrote in this space “Thank you, Justice Carmona!” 

In that article, I praised Justice Anthony Carmona for his courage and forthrightness in declaring that the URP was riddled with murders and murderers. 

Justice Carmona spoke from the Bench more than once on this matter, but that 2008 column was written when the good judge found himself discharging two brazen young murder accused because the witnesses had been killed.
" the bowels of the URP there is rank criminality and the
authorities need to address this." Justice Carmona (2008)
 I wrote then: “This is not the first time Justice Carmona must have wondered at the state of our country, where the government actually is the funding agent for these crimes, and where Prime Ministers shake hands with men who have been in and out of the court system, repeatedly charged, always released before the Jury even gets the case”. 
File Photo: PM Manning meets with gang leader Sheldon "Crock" Scott in Laventille during the 2007 election campaign
Read the related story: PNM encouraged criminals, failed to deal with crime: PM Kamla
In bringing this situation to the attention of the authorities—as if they did not know?—Mr. Carmona declared himself “an activist judge”, who repeatedly called upon the police and the politicians (of all stripes!) to at least acknowledge the situation as a first step to dealing with it. 

That they have not, to this date, acknowledged the connection between URP contracts and murders is an indictment of all in authority. 

Justice Carmona called the URP a buzzing nest of crime, extortion and murder, and his words were just blown away in the wind! He said that those who were not recognizing the violent crime associated with the URP were “delusionary”. 

Here we had a High Court Judge, commenting on several murder cases, calling the police service and the government “delusionary” in their denial of the causes of these crimes. Did we, did they, the government and the police, “feel” the reprimand? 

It raised little comment, even after I published that “thank you” in this space, calling on governments and the police to follow-up on these clear comments from the bench on their refusal to bring this URP crime wave to book. Suggestions were listed by me, but for reasons too dreadful to contemplate, the authorities left the situation alone, and it still festers today.

What could the good Judge have done, I wonder, more than tell us, and reprimand the authorities for not hearkening to his words? He surely would have offended the government, the police service, the various pseudo-police bands who flew the skies in blimps to watch crime soar, and the DPP, with his blunt words. But they slunk into hiding instead of rising to a challenge thrown.
What could the good judge have done? 

Well, he could become our President, and have a higher forum from which to pursue his crusade. And this he has done, by accepting the call to become our Fifth President and Head of State. 

It is appropriate to pause here and acknowledge our appreciation to the Prime Minister and her Government for their choice in asking Anthony Carmona to accept this highest position in the land. 

The good which this government has done has been lost in storms of controversy, mismanagement and deep distrust, and unfortunately for them, this distrust has been well earned. 

When the matter of nominating our next President was first being discussed, some of the names—as likely choices—were clearly partisan choices. But the eventual selection demonstrated that the PM could rise above the partisan pressures within her Party, and choose for the Nation, a man who was clearly indebted to no one. 

Thank you, Prime Minister for the strength shown in this choice, and may you continue on this track!

So I return to our new President, His Excellency Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, to congratulate him on his accession to our Highest Office, and to wish him well with his task ahead. 

I deeply appreciated his speech on his acceptance of office. I have heard people claim that he was lecturing the government, or this sector or that sector. To me he was speaking to all of us, on all of our undisciplined, unproductive and intolerant behaviour. And he said what needs to be said, for we have all let our country slide too far in every respect.
Thank you for the way you spoke to us, President Carmona, and may you set the example which gives us no choice but to follow you.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai