Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Where was everybody?

Published:Wednesday | May 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM


The first item of news on Monday evening concerned a man who spent 25 years in prison for allegedly having a spliff in his possession.

Reports are that this man, who was said to be showing signs of mental illness, was seen with the butt of a spliff and was arrested. If the system worked as it should, he would either be admonished and discharged or pay a fine not exceeding $100. He remained in prison for 25 years until Nancy Anderson, law lecturer and human-rights activist, found him and raised an alarm.

What appeared on TV emerging from prison was a weak, frail, barefooted man demonstrating various forms of illness.

Where are his relatives?

Two thoughts struck me and have remained. First: Did this man live in a community, and did he have relatives? It seems to me that one of the functions of relatives is to protect.

Here is a man who is said to be mentally ill, and therefore, unable to represent himself, and for 25 years he is lost in the prison system? Where was everybody? You will pardon me if I say I do not want to hear from them at this time. It's going to be some rubbish that starts out with "We tried ... ." BULL MANURE!

While I have doubts about the sincerity of our leaders, I know of two journalists who would never allow this wickedness to persist.

I seem to remember during my days as a Sunday school teacher insisting that everyone in my class memorise 1 Timothy 5:8. "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Second, proponents of the Caribbean Court of Justice claim that those who oppose the court do so because they think the judgments will be of a poorer quality than those coming from the Privy Council.

When I listen to the ordinary citizen, their concern has nothing to do with the erudition of our jurists. They are acutely aware of the ramshackle arrangements that pass for a judicial system in this country and - rightly or wrongly - use that to determine the quality of service we can expect.

Where will this man live? Is it fair to him, or for those who abandoned him for a whole generation to foist him on them? Will he be compensated? Who will assume responsibility for what I sense will be extensive and expensive medical care? Does our Constitution have anything to say about this kind of evil?


Stony Hill