Orwell's 'Animal Farm' at work
The often quoted George Orwell statement in the book
regarding the relative importance of some individual over others, occupied my mind as I listened to the prime minister's statement to Parliament last Tuesday, regarding the extradition request of the United States of America justice department for fellow Jamaican Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
In a passionate display of his administration's stance he asserted, "I'm not defending the wrong-doing of any person but I will say this, if I have to pay a political price for it I'm going to hold a position that constitutional rights do not begin at Liguanea; that's not where they start."
One of my colleagues reasoned that 'Di man soun' like Castro", to which my response was, "If only this defence of 'constitutional rights' applied to everyone."
You see, the lack of even-handed treatment, fairness and the trampling of the constitutional rights of some Jamaicans have been the bane of this administration's existence, beginning with the summary dismissal of the members of Public Service Commission (PSC) over their refusal to withdraw the candidacy of Professor Stephen Vasciannie as solicitor general in favour of someone else.
The breach of the Nurses Association of Jamaica's (NAJ) constitutional rights, despite a ruling of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) and the tragic and untimely death of seven female wards of the state at Armadale are but two of recent vintage. In the first instance, the court was used to coerce the nurses back to work while the Government flagrantly disobeyed the IDT ruling, while in Armadale's case, the poor families are left to mourn and pick up the pieces from the loss of their loved ones with the authorities getting off the hook.
The prime minister needs to understand that the political price which he is prepared to pay as a consequence of the inevitable fall-out both locally and abroad, can be easily averted if his administration begins to treat all Jamaicans with the kind of respect that they are due and not merely when political careers and future are on the line.
I am, etc.,