Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2017 Contents viewpoint A21
Monday, March 27, 2017 guardian.co.tt
The debate in the Senate on the pros and cons of
judge alone without jury trials and the interesting
contributions of senators Sturge, Ramdeen, Chote
and Sobers raised serious questions about whether
so drastic a change in the law as the removal of jury
trial, even in some cases, will have any impact on
delays and the backlog in the criminal courts.
As I listened some statements caused me to ask
myself if I had heard correctly. Did I hear Senator
Chote say that one entire criminal court has been
shut down while a judge was away on study leave
so only seven out of eight courts have been oper-
And did I hear Senator Ramdeen say that some
decisions in criminal appeals in cases in which
none other than the Honourable Chief Justice had
presided have not been delivered for after over
Surely I thought I could expect an immediate re-
sponse and explanation from the judiciary .
No such thing. Instead I noticed a brief an-
nouncement in the press that the Chief Justice had
left the country for Australia to attend the 20th
Commonwealth Law Conference. The Conference
takes place in Melbourne from March 20-24.
He left on March 15 and will return on April 8.
Australia is really far...
In his last opening of term address the Chief Jus-
tice made it clear that nobody can stop him from
What is clearer now is that it seems the admin-
istration of criminal justice could fall dong...he
On Carnival Friday evening a rela-
tive went to the airport to pick up
two friends arriving from Maimi at 3.20
pm. She arrived at the airport at 4 pm
allowing 40 minutes to clear immigration
and customs. The flight arrived on time.
My relative waited until 5 pm and not
yet seeing her friends emerge, she called
them. The response was that there were
hundreds of people ahead of them waiting
to clear immigration and there were only
two officers and that it should take about
two more hours.
My relative went to Trincity Mall and
hung around for two hours and called
again at 7 pm only to be told by her friends
that they are still in immigration and
cannot say how long again it will take. My
relative advised her friends to take a taxi
when they eventually came out.
Very few Trinidadians would be sur-
prised at this situation in a country where
the police could block the roads and shut
down the country for a whole day on the
pretext of checking vehicles. Up to today,
no one has been held responsible for this
and disciplined accordingly.
Or, a traffic officer could stop a vehi-
cle on the Priority Bus Route driven by a
husband taking his pregnant wife to the
hospital to have a baby in an emergency
situation, giving them a ticket and forcing
them off the Priority Bus Route. Up to to-
day, the public does not know the name of
this officer, or whether there has been any
investigation into this matter.
What had me really concerned, how-
ever, was the reported statement of the
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the
Airport Authority who said he has "abso-
lutely no jurisdiction on what Immigra-
tion or Customs should or should not do."
He added that the airport authority mere-
ly provides the facilities for Immigration
to carry out their work.
I would respectfully like to inform the
Chairman that the proper functioning of
the airport is entirely within his jurisdic-
tion. He is the head of the airport and it
is his duty to ensure that all services are
properly provided. So that if immigration
was not functioning well, he has to do
whatever it takes to make it work proper-
ly, even if he has to go to the Prime Min-
ister himself. He cannot just sit back and
state that the problem is not within his
jurisdiction while his airport is in chaos.
The same reasoning applies to several
other sections of the society. For example,
we have had reports of magistrates, on
convicting people for possession of a gun,
asking in frustration where were all these
guns coming from? But not once have we
seen a magistrate ask the convicted per-
son where he got the gun from and asking
the police if the convicted person co-op-
erated with the police in identifying the
supplier of the gun and that the sentence
to be passed will depend on the extent of
co-operation with the police in locating
the supplier of the gun.
And, this is not outside the jurisdiction
of the magistrate as the magistrate has
other duties outside the Summary Courts
Act to preserve the general welfare of the
We are quick to condemn and complain when
things are not efficient, but in the same mode we
must congratulate and compliment when things
I dealt with Caribbean Airlines on its flight from
Piarco to Toronto on Wednesday morning.
All went well. From check-in to arrival. Baggage
inspection, paperwork, you name it. An assistant
even assisted a young lady to adjust her clothing.
Gone are the days of ''Bound to wait in airport.''
The name change worked well.
Well done, people. Keep up the hard work.
Toronto looks good in snow.
A workers cleans the sign at Santa Rita RC School in Rio Claro on Wednesday. Parents of the school have been protesting, seeking to
have an alleged bully removed from the school. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONTAH
You do have jurisdiction, Sir
Well done, CAL
'He travelling still...'
Links Archive March 26th 2017 March 28th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page