Thursday, February 22, 2018

Post mortem

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Mark Fraser

 The public understands two things: No one life is more important than another and the authorities should have admitted a long time ago that crime was out of control.

The public is also greatly concerned that law enforcement is bankrupt of ideas and make ineffective use of such tools with which they have been provided.  Moreover, the rogues and the links of those rogues, to other persons in high places, will consistently undermine the work and standing of the many good policemen.

That is the current scene. Next, false trails about the murder having been laid, some tale will be concocted to show that the murder of Dana Seetahal, SC has been “solved”. This will permit the chambers and domes of commerce, the professional associations and the cocktail circuits who are wailing now to return to supine complacency.

They never supported my calls for an unpolluted investigation into the murder of Akiel Chambers and many others that were the grim symptoms of the deep decay, which had settled on the land long before May 4, 2014.

They never joined me in vehemently rejecting the offensive dismissal of the death of a young woman outside of MovieTowne as “collateral damage”. They blithely accept the use of the damaging labels of gang related and pejorative references to domestic violence to deflate murder statistics.

This is what was evaded: A child, aged 11, from a disadvantaged area was enticed away from his home surroundings and plied with gifts.  One fateful day his predators took him to a children’s birthday party in an upscale neighbourhood and buggered and killed him.  His body turned up in the swimming pool the next morning.

Akiel was savaged in May 1998. One of those allegedly involved openly played mas and had the gall to challenge me outside a famous panyard many years later. Fourteen years later we are describing a murder as “a new low” when we low so long.

I do not want to repeat what I said on broadcast media, Sunday last, about the priority of coming to grips with the fact that anyone can be killed and the killers can enjoy complete impunity.

I would however like to reproduce what Michelle Loubon of this newspaper, using her own research, elaborated on impunity: “Impunity refers to exemption from punishment or loss or escape from fines. In the international law of human rights, it refers to the failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice, and, as such, itself contributes to a denial of the victims’ right to justice and redress. Impunity is especially common in countries that lack a tradition of the rule of the law, suffer from corruption or that have entrenched systems of patronage, or where the judiciary is weak or members of the security forces are protected by special jurisdictions or immunities.”

It is also necessary to pour some additional scorn on the predictable responses of the usual suspects. The acting Commissioner of Police wavers about whether the killing was a “hit”.  To the contrary, the Minister of National Security screws up his face to emphasise it was “a well orchestrated hit”.

Neither of them is in a position to give us assurances about the state of our intelligence services, which, if competent and lucky, might pick up chatter about a hit before it occurs.  Perhaps that is within the peculiar knowledge of the now ubiquitous National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) or the “new” flying squad.

NSOC or SAUTT, what the hell are the authorities doing other than shuffling their respective preferred, politically pliable top brass and suppliers? Akin to Rome burning, this is shuffling while many, many die.

The Government has crassly thrown some more money into the reward pot.  Surely the risk to someone coming forward is the same, regardless of the size of the reward.  The offer of a reward should be made in more cases and be of the same amount if it is sincerely believed that money looses tongues. Mr Robin Ramdeen would not then be obliged justifiably to ask why there was no offer of a reward in the case of his parents who were brutally killed in their home.

Meanwhile, whatever the shortcomings of her letter, the Solicitor General was quite clear that there was a lawyer, outside of her department, whom she believed was involved in cut and paste claims against the State in a manner which caused her to write to the Prime Minister, referring to “a conflict of interest in key office holders”.

Now my fellow columnist, Keith Subero, in his column of last Monday, has quoted the sharp exchanges between the Court of Appeal and a lawyer about the character of a prison damages claim before the Court.

This is another revelation which compels an independent investigation into the prison damages claims.  Fortunately the DPP has entered the picture so we no longer have to depend on the prevaricating political executive.