By Jack Warner
I would have thought that after the Sunshine Today of Friday 27 September 2019 when the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley was called upon to “Zip Your Lip” that the leader of our country would have found wisdom in such sayings and follow suit.
I would have thought that given the exigencies of the day, the impending Local Government Elections and the General Elections in less than a year’s time and the threat that the chances of the ruling People’s National Movement returning to office seem to be dwindling by the day that the Prime Minister would have reclined into reflective mode and rather than babble all day long constrain his tongue and give to his people a glimmer of hope.
However, this seems too much to have been asked of our leader and rather than allowing the courts to have its way and the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) to have its day in court the Prime Minister goes off again in an unholy chatter pitting the legal fraternity against his Government. And doing so at a time he can ill afford to contribute to the growing band of dissidents within his party.
The honest truth that Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley cannot deny is that he is not alone in his thinking. It is not only the Prime Minister who believes that the LATT’s attempt to start judicial proceedings against Chief Justice Ivor Archie is political and more. But it is only he, who dares to open his mouth and thus be accused of trying to influence the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago.
In this matter, Sunshine Today is on his side. We believe that the hounding of the Chief Justice may have more to do with race and sectarian leadership within the Judiciary. But if the LATT chooses to build a case and hope that it can establish a prima facie suit against the Prime Minister then all that Keith Rowley has to do is to shut up like Sunshine Today and let justice take its course.
But this is too much to ask of Keith Rowley, our Prime Minister, and too much to ask of his minions who seem to take the cue from him. And rather than remain silent, they all open their mouths and betray their intelligence which defines them all as being unfit to rule in 2020.
A more diplomatic approach
A more diplomatic approach is what is required in the leadership of Trinidad and Tobago. But it seems as though we are overtaken by a kind of leadership that is plaguing the world and that is evident in the stewardship of men like Donald Trump, President of the USA; Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil.
What all of these men have in common with the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago is a lack of diplomacy, a penchant for aggravating not only their local populations but also global ones and an uncanny ability to raise the angst of their people.
Just last week Dr. Rowley’s Gary Sobers, the Minister of National Security Stuart Young, started a tongue lashing against the Judiciary as it relates to judgment being dispensed in matters relating to bail in our country.
Everyone already has an uneasy feeling with the Judiciary and this has nothing to do with LATT and its war against the Chief Justice. Everyone raises questions concerning the appointment of some from Magistrates to Judges. Everyone, not only the Privy Council, was concerned at one time about the composition of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and many stated their opinions silently and across social media because they are not in Government.
This is normal for ordinary citizens but not for the leaders of our country.
Our leaders are expected to display the kind of diplomacy to call leaders of different sects together, to demonstrate the art of moral suasion to sit even with the Opposition and Judiciary to develop tripartite talks on this matter.
We never expected Dr. Keith Rowley or any member of his administration to play rogue and go public and undermine whatever little confidence remained in the Judiciary.
If Dr. Rowley or members of his administration wish to open their mouth, one would think that it would be to articulate issues already ventilated and not to sound like John Public who is depending on Government to provide solutions to the challenges we face.
Yes, the Judiciary may have problems, but has the Keith Rowley administration provided all that is necessary to its stakeholders before it stands in condemnation over its performance?
Have sufficient court houses been provided? Have sufficient judges been appointed? And has the Chief Justice been given control over the funds allocated to the Judicature of Trinidad and Tobago;?These are questions we do not mind Keith Rowley or even Stuart Young opening their mouths to articulate.
But little or no contributions are being made to the development of our Judiciary and little or no conversations are being held to improve the administration of justice with the leaders we have voted in to take care of our business. That is why we have a Prime Minister and a sidekick like “rah-rahs” going all over the place making a nuisance of themselves.
The matter with the LATT could have been easily settled months ago
The matter with the LATT could have been easily settled months ago if the Prime Minister had within his skill-set the ability to negotiate and use the power of the vote to kill the challenge the LATT is trying to impose on the people.
LATT is taking its mandate from a minority vote because the number that voted against the Chief Justice, less than ten percent, is far below the number of persons who practise law in our country.
But instead of spewing venom that lacks toxicity, what a sensible Prime Minister would have done is to ask his Attorney General to lobby a group of lawyers opposed to the current thinking of the LATT and encourage them to attend meetings called to vote on this matter.
That would have been a common sense approach, a wise approach; an approach that would demonstrate the kind of finesse and manoeuvrings of which our country would be proud. But alas!
Our Prime Minister clearly lacks the skill to chorale any group together for the greater good of our country. And it is for this reason his best option would be to talk less and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. No serious Prime Minister would have ever told his population that if the LATT sues him it is not he who is paying. Was it really necessary to refer to the lawyers who voted for judicial review against the Chief Justice as “braying hordes? Has Dr Rowley learnt nothing from the exemplary finesse of Manning?
But sadly the ability to think seems to be lacking across the Keith Rowley administration
If Dr. Keith Rowley feels that he must talk then why not talk on an issue that would be of interest to the national community, issues that would pull the nation together and not tear it apart.
Why not talk about what plans he has to make our society more just, more fair and more equitable.
If Stuart Young who has this “rah-rah” disease must talk why can’t he tell us what is his agenda to reduce the number of little black boys being thrown into prison rather than behave like a petulant child when the Judiciary is not throwing enough of our black children in jail.
And if he really wants to sound relevant why doesn’t he tell us what plans are afoot to speed up the course of justice since behind the very walls where he wants to put little black boys are innocent men and women who are awaiting justice now for more than ten years and who still do not have a date for court.
Those are issues the nation expects its leaders to talk about, issues that could bring about changes in our society. But sadly the ability to think seems to be lacking across the Keith Rowley administration and this is more so evident in Keith Rowley himself..
If our Prime Minister cannot speak intelligently on matters of interest to the national community then he is well advised to stay quiet.
The noise from the Government is drowning out intelligent conversations that the nation is struggling to keep. This is why once again Sunshine Today advises the Prime Minister to “TALK LESS AND WORK MORE” and give his administration yet another chance to win the General Elections in