Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Legally diminishing heroism?

Published:Tuesday | October 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I am a bit puzzled at the current move to clear the criminal records of some of our national heroes, et al. Since Caribbean history was not a bright spot in my academic record and I am no lawyer, I'll ask questions for the most part.

Is there no difference between having your record expunged and being pardoned? As I understand the issues (perhaps in ignorance), when a criminal record is expunged, the conviction and sentence are assumed as bona fide, but the accused, after a span of time and after honouring the sentence of the court, is given a clean slate for the future.

Isn't a pardon a species of mercy and, thus, strictly speaking, not a justice issue? So again conviction and sentence are not being contested, but isn't the jury still out on the point that 'an immoral law is still a law'?

What does either having one's criminal record expunged or being pardoned say about the calibre of the activism of said heroes and others, if anything?

Isn't a central part of the celebrated heroism or extraordinary courage of our heroes and others the fact of consciously breaking [immoral] laws regardless of cost?

Does Tacky really have a criminal record?

A careful consideration of my uninformed questions could possibly save our nation some intellectual embarrassment in future.