Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 31st 2017 Contents viewpoint A21
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Just who to hang?
The question is who are the people who
should be hanged high? The police have
solved (?) two of the 27 (at the time)
murders committed in our fair country.
Since that astounding claim, the number
has doubled. It is doubtful whether any
more have been solved.
Who, then, are the people our fellow
citizens would have hanged? Should
we hang all the people who have been
charged with murder even though they
are still awaiting trial several years lat-
er? And this, knowing what we do about
Where is the evidence that the people
who have been charged are in fact guilty
of the crime(s) of which they have been
accused. The record of the police in such
matters is not outstanding.
Unfortunately, some people who are
motivated by the sight of their names
in print support these calls even though
their professional duties require them
to defend the very people whom they
criticise. It is dangerous for such calls to
be made as it appears to give legitimacy
to the repeated cases of police appearing
to be trigger-happy.
The fact is that the police need to get
on with the job and focus on the task
of capturing the criminals, ensuring that
proper standards are maintained in their
evidence-gathering, instead of chasing
after law-abiding citizens.
Time is against us, bring
anti-corruption legislation now
Four per cent, strictly speaking, is a drop
in the bucket save and except when it
refers to a decline in the transparency rat-
ings. And then it becomes an avalanche.
For a Government that campaigned the
length and breadth of the country against
the morass of corruption allegations of
the last administration, it should send
a clear signal that much more needs to
be done. Thus far their efforts are much
ado about nothing. It is not just about
locking up and prosecuting of previous
governments, it is now about securing
a corruption-free future. To do this we
need to be clear about what is needed.
Apart from the obvious procurement
legislation there is the not-so-obvious
party and campaign finance reform agen-
da and the institutional strengthening
necessary for investigation and appre-
hension. It is also about the fact that our
legislation focuses on the narrowest pos-
sible definition of public officers to whom
it applies and ignores the role of private
sector in aiding and abetting corruption.
And finally, it is about ensuring that
there is equality of opportunity for all
citizens---opportunity that is based on
ethical procedures and practices which
ensures equal access to government
services, untainted as it were, by ethno-
centrism, cronyism and nepotism.
All governments frequently make the
mistake of assuming that five years is a
long time. And if this government is to es-
cape unscathed they should bring to the
table the whole anti-corruption agenda
(inclusive of not only the legislation but
also its operationalisation) now, so that
its own performance may be judged and
circumscribed by this legislation.
Four per cent will not allow for the lux-
ury of time and the remaining three and
half years is simply too long to wait for
a country starved of good governance
for far too long.
All right-minded citizens need to de-
mand this if the country's standing in the
international community is to improve
and we are to attract foreign investment
that we are searching for.
Satu- Ann Ramcharan
BRING BACK MERIT SYSTEM
FOR CARNIVAL JUDGING
In the 1990s (at least), the
"merit system" was used to
determine results of the various
Carnival competitions (Calypso
Fiesta, King and Queen of Car-
nival, Calypso Monarch, Band of
the Year, etc). It was a far superi-
or method to the one where high
and low scores are discarded. It is
error-prone when done by hand
but a simple computer program
can fix that.
The merit system takes into
consideration the fact that some
judges are generous with their
scores while others are less so.
However, they tend to be con-
sistent in their generosity or
stinginess. For example, given
three contestants A, B and C,
Judge 1 may award marks of 95,
92 and 88 while Judge 2 may
award marks of 70, 75 and 68,
respectively. Assuming there are
five judges, the other three may
award marks somewhere between
In a system where you elim-
inate high and low scores, you
may find that the scores of Judge
1 and Judge 2 are consistently
eliminated. The end result is that
they have little or no say in the fi-
nal determination. But they may
be very good judges and their rel-
ative placement of the contest-
ants may be spot on. Yet their in-
put has little or no bearing on the
final result. Surely, this cannot be
what we want. This is where the
merit system comes in.
The system gives all judges
equal say in the final results by
nullifying the tendency of one
judge to give high scores and an-
other to give low scores. At the
end of the competition, based on
the scores awarded, each judge
would have placed the contest-
ants in a particular order. Then,
all first placed contestants get the
same number of points (50, say).
All second placed contestants get
49 points, all third placed con-
testants get 48 points, and so on.
These points are then tallied to
determine the winners.
In the example above, the con-
testant (A) who Judge 1 placed
first with 95 marks will get the
same number of points (50) as
the contestant (B) who Judge 2
placed first with 75 marks.
The system can be tweaked in
terms of the number of points to
award for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and the
other places. Should it be 100 for
first, 90 for second, 85 for third?
This is a minor detail which does
not affect the principle of the
The merit system is not perfect
but I submit that it has many ad-
vantages over the current system
and should be used for Carnival
competitions (including Pan), as
was done in earlier years.
CARNIVAL SPRUCE UP
the sidewalk along
over the weekend
as the corporation
began sprucing up
the capital in
preparation for the
Carnival on Friday.
DEAR LETTER-WRITERS: Please note that before your letter
can be published, we must have your full name and contact
details, including a phone number. Your contact information will
not be published. Letters should be no more than 500 words
long and may be edited for length and clarity. Send by email
Links Archive January 30th 2017 February 1st 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page