Monday, February 19, 2018

Carmona's new caseload


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At some time this morning I will be in Woodford Square to perform my personal Jouvert morning ritual.

It is the time when I am overcome fully by the Dionysian madness that is our Carnival. First, I will offer a brief prayer, then attempt my own brand of "centring" my thoughts and feelings, or what psychologist Carl Jung would have described as a meeting with my "personal unconscious".

Of course, that is real madness. Why would anyone go to Woodford Square, among the crowds, and the overwhelming sounds of the steelbands and DJs? How does one attempt a reflective interior monologue amid the cacophony and wild swirls of Jouvert in Woodford Square?

Frankly, the reasons remain unclear.

It is said that Dionysus, the Greek god – later called Bacchus, the god of carnival – was so frustrated by the tumult in ancient Greece that he descended to earth to resurrect a figure in the hope that he would be the leader who would solve all of the problems on earth.

I thought of this myth last week as I reflected on the agreement to elect Anthony Carmona —whom I know from my days at UWI — as President.

Mr Carmona's selection caused me to replay my mental tapes of our acquaintance over the years. I tried to determine, in the haziness, what distinctive quality Anthony displayed every time we met.

I realised that it was respect. I recall that from those student days to his elevation to the Bench, Anthony Carmona extended that quality to everyone around, and with a warm graciousness.

So this morning, in my prayer for the nation, I will include Justice Carmona who, at some time, may be called upon to be like the saviour in the Dionysus myth —the person the People's Partnership Government hopes will finally bring some respectability to its time in office.

With Anthony Carmona, I believe, there will be no attempts to hijack the Constitution and no repeats of Section 34 because he will be ever vigilant that his office goes beyond the interest of a "cabal" to that of the nation state.

That quality of respect for each other needs to be promoted at this time; it may provide the calm that is urgently needed to counter the feeling that the nation is overheating or nearing an anomic edge.

The path to modernity carries, in every instance, serious social costs, but those costs in Trinidad and Tobago appear potentially disastrous. That danger is aggravated every day with, inter alia, the thrashing of our institutions, e.g. the Prime Minister's attack on the Integrity Commission during the THA election campaign.

Then there was Jack Warner's defiling of the Office of President, attacking the incumbent President as a "puppet", and then as a Member of the House, he ventured into forbidden territory, calling on Independent Senators to resign their presidential appointments.

Justice Carmona, I expect, will be no rubber stamp; he will have to ensure that matters referred to him from the Office of the Attorney General are rigorously scrutinised.

For example, the fiasco of Section 34, and the repeated "mis-steps" that have been made in the appointments to commissions of inquiry — the latest being the appointment of one Haffizool Mohammed, without sufficient background checks of his resume.

Mr Carmona, from the start of his weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, should seek to have his independent views translated into public policy.

He must grasp the urgency of the issues of our time — uncontrolled crime, the stoking of primordial instincts, the pressure cooker effect it is having on the society, and the potential for social implosion.

He has the opportunity to be the balancing element that is needed at this time; it will be also the time for him to assure subtly that he will be the people's voice. Ultimately, his presidency must be able to effect a visible shift in the Government's direction.

Some of kaisos of this season should give Mr Carmona a refined understanding of the people's mood. "Planass", the tenth annual production of the rapso group 3Canal, last week communicated the depth of conscious music, with haunting chants warning that "de people eh taking dat so".

He should listen to Heather McIntosh's "Invisible Police", then request that the Police Service Commission demand a status report from the acting Police Commissioner on his lengthy investigation into the FIFA bribery matter at the Hyatt.

The Commission should also be requested to demand of the acting COP a full report on the claims by former Flying Squad officer, Mervyn Cordner, that he was handed state equipment, including cars and computers, and determine the owner of the private security firm that houses 75 retired officers in Arouca at a monthly rental of $200,000.

He must remind the PM that such behaviour can be linked to societal dysfunction e.g. school violence, the murder in a church, etc.

Just few of my thoughts, before I go off to Woodford Square.

* Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since

followed a career in

communication and