Letters & Opinion, Politics

Accountability and Democracy

Image: Director of Public Prosecutions, Victoria Charles-Clarke. [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]

THE controversy brought on by the irresponsible decision of Stanley Felix, the current Minister of Housing in the Kenny Anthony led government, to publicly flog the Director of Prosecution on the market steps must be viewed in the context of the roles of the various public institutions in ensuring that our democracy works, and the efficacy of persons to whom we entrust the management of such institutions.

To many of the supporters of the SLP the Minister was right to put Mrs. Charles-Clarke on blast, so to speak. This of course is purely an emotional response that fails to take into account one of the fundamental foundations of governance, in this case, the triaspolitica principle, and the independence of the judiciary. But then again who thinks along these lines in an atmosphere and situation that is highly charged politically. If it feels right then it must be right.

I absolutely share the anxiety and frustration of those who feel that on both the IMPACS and Towns and Village Councils reports too much time has elapsed with no discernible headway in prosecuting them in the courts. Notwithstanding the fact that the wheels of justice grind slowly.

But I also share the view that such frustration should be vented through the appropriate channels preferably by members of civil society. Any organization or individual with a human rights orientation, e.g. CAFRA, or any societal pressure group should be able to raise the issue on behalf of the rest of us without risking violating that sacred tenet of our democracy and tainting the process with unwarranted political interference.

While it might be difficult to separate the office of the DPP with the individual who carries the title and responsibility for managing that office your disappointment with her ineffectiveness should never cause the Minister to draw the office into a partisan political fracas. It is unbecoming of any minister of government to display such blatant disregard for protocol that frankly borders on crassness.

Having said that, we must realize that the people who man our democratic institutions are charged with the ultimate responsibility for their proper functioning and the quality of our democracy is dependent on them performing their tasks professionally and creditably.

It does our country absolutely no good for any of these people to be handpicked for reasons other than their competence, their professional integrity, and their performance driven work ethic.

At every turn when our government has acted out of political expediency and make these kinds of appointments we the people have had nothing but disappointments. This situation presents a clear case in point.

We do not have a culture of accountability in this country because for too long well connected persons have been given a bligh instead of being called to account. Even our parliament consists of those who have violated our laws and committed transgressions that would have caused them to be in the custody of the state. Sorry there I said it.

Some who are given positions of trust and great responsibility to advance the common good prefer to appease a narrow constituency while our consequential problems languish in limbo.

So while we must express utter dissatisfaction with the nonperformance of the DPP we must also shine the light on others of similar ilk in our society who allow our society to gradually disintegrate by the thousand little cuts of responsibility shirking.

We must never allow our political sympathies to prevent us from reaching higher up along the chain of accountability and excoriate just one person when others also are just as complicit in this saga.

Finally, we must come to terms with the fact that our smallness presents a challenge to those who are called to carry out their functions without fear or favour due to familial, community, or professional connections.

What shall we do about that situation? Should we import our DPPs from the other islands? Also what other systemic changes should we employ to assure that we do not suffer such a national embarrassment in the future? Or are we satisfied with the status quo until the next shameful episode.

–Peter Thomas

1 Comment

  1. /

    I am not one who delights in meaningless cliches, “the wheels of justice grinds slowly”. WHERE and for who ? what the hell does that mean for the poor soul, unable to pay the bail and sits imprisoned for years after being accused of stealing a banana ? You must have never heard, “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

    Any sane and sound thinking individual would be eager to cut through the red tape, what you call “protocol” and accelerate to a just resolution to this abomination of the murder of dozens of ‘marleyweys’ citizens, and bring these criminal killer-cops under the corrupt leadership of Agusto Pinochet Francois and his Businessman Backer to trial, and render justice to the grieving families of the dozens of murdered victims – who do you think are responsible for the dozens of “UNSOLVED MURDERS” ? Let me suggest that you interrogate Agusto Pinochet Francois.

    Instead you and this incompetent anachronistic Victoria Charles, plead protocol ? Something is seriously deranged here, while the bodies of these assassinated Lucians are eaten by ‘Toolooloo’ and you act as if it were another child raped by pedophile priest with the blessings of Jesus which you have grown accustomed to, even as you eat the body and drink the blood of a human being like cannibals to gain eternal life.

    It could not be coincidental that this circumstance is inundated with so much double talk, “while we must express utter dissatisfaction…(and do nothing)” we must remember it was Mary Isaac who double-crossed the union members to get a seat in the senate – WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT ? are you another intoxicated drunkard ? You misguided worshipers of the naked white man behave like you were struck in the head with a bull pizzle, or a sledge hammer, causing this mambo jumbo double talking.




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