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Early test looms for Carmona

The new President must affix his signature to the much debated Defence (Amendment) Bill before it is proclaimed. Based on his inauguration speech, it would be quite interesting to see what his comments would be, if any. He does not appear to be the type to keep silent if his convictions lead him otherwise.

There already exists numerous allegations of corruption with regard to the police, in addition to increased complaints flooding the offices of the Police Complaints Authority, yet the State now seeks to merge another entity, that is governed by entirely different principles, with this flawed service.

At present citizens can seek redress if they believe that police officers either used excessive force or failed to act in the performance of their duties. This does not appear to be the case with soldiers who are trained for the use of absolute force. It seems like a recipe for disaster.

These two bodies, the Police Service governed by the tenets of apprehend, arrest, charge and bring before the courts and the army, trained to kill, if merged and not managed properly, could yield serious consequences for those who may be seen as going "against". It would be in smart, a two-year state of emergency, an almost military state in a democracy which is a conflict in itself.

Mr Carmona, well intentioned as he may be, quoted Section 81, the gist of which was that the President reserves the right to question the Prime Minister on certain issues of national interest. However, he can only recommend and we all know how recommendations go in this country. How far does the Constitution allow the President to get involved in such matters?

Lorren Medford-Pryce

via e-mail

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