Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Letter of the Day: Frivolous Floyd and kangaroo Senate

Published:Friday | October 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Indeed, we have heard of kangaroo courts, but it is clear that we now have a kangaroo Senate. Far from an institution of sober second thought, we are witnessing its descent into petty partisan politics.

How could Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte be suspended for failing to produce an inconsequential letter that could have been (and eventually was) easily verified by the minister of justice Senator Mark Golding? Was there truly a need for probing investigation into whether the opposition senator was indeed in the restroom when summoned by Senate President Floyd Morris?

Suspension ought to be reserved for egregious cases: gross abuse of public trust or substantial evidence of deceit. That high bar does not apply to the Senate president apparently, who reasons that because he was empowered by the Standing Orders to make a contempt finding, he is always right in doing so.

Let reason prevail. When wielding heavy powers, a measure of discretion and forbearance is needed. Shame on the Senate president for giving in to trivial government demands and partisan instincts.

The political debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has descended into mindless cacophony. The issue of cost is a red herring on both sides because by its very nature, the jurisdiction of a final appellate court is exceptional.

Only an extreme minority will ever have reason to go to the Privy Council or to the CCJ. Both institutions have demonstrated a willingness to be innovative, so let us not get bogged down by majoring in minors.

A bold and principled governing party would flee from intimidating chicanery as we witnessed last Friday and call the question to a prompt vote.

If the bills do not pass, the Government can call the general election and make the CCJ a central campaign issue.

I know the CCJ will not butter my bread, fix parochial roads, reduce crime rates, strengthen our health-care system, or improve academic performance.

The time for debate is over. If the Government can't get the votes in the Senate, it must move on - for now. That is, after all, the democratic process.

JOSEPH W. RICHARDS II

Juris Doctor

Master of Theological Studies