Excuse me while I light my spliff.
Oh, God, I gotta take a lift.
From reality I just can’t drift.
That’s why I am staying with this riff.
– Bob Marley
I do not smoke. I am not a smoker. The first and last time a real cigarette touched my lips, I near choked to death and that was the end of that. However, despite my disclaimer, I am willing to light up a spliff.
The fore mentioned was my opening paragraph prior to viewing a disturbing video that was posted on the Barbados Underground, evidence of Police brutality – The Brutality of the Royal Barbados Police Force, with video. I saw a shirtless young man lying on a stretcher, pants soiled with blood and that haunting look of near death on his face. To serve and protect does not mean becoming a predator of the poor. That video now adds to the recent occurrences in Barbadian society that if not halted will reduce it to a state of anarchy. I hope such glaring evidence will not lead to someone seeking revenge, taking the law into their own hand as society continues to lose faith in the delivery of its just actions. The evidence is building.
How many of you have read of the court case that was reported in Barbados Today on July 2, 2016 in which a man who light up a spliff and threw it away as the police approached was charged $350.00 for the possession of that spliff? I wondered what the fine would have been if he had 2 spliffs. As I read it, I again got sick and tired of being sick and tired of what has been happening regarding the use of marijuana for the past 35 or more years. Then there was another case in which a hungry man stole food and was given 6 months in jail. The punishments just do not fit the crimes.
The recent reports of the Attorney General announcing the granting of bail to a policeman who was on remand for murder, adds to my observation. He spoke a few days before the officer was released on bail. He wanted to let us know what would happen. It was a testament to the fact that we have political bullies in Parliament who exert their power to get the things they want accomplished. We will never know the extent of his involvement in influencing the judge to grant bail. A lot has been said on the topic that I do not wish to regurgitate but I wonder why the AG was so enlightened that former police officer should be on bail, and never voiced his opinion when people who steal food are sent to jail, or stated that it is a waste of the court’s time even to hear a case of a person carrying a spiff or that the government has never found any concrete evidence why the use of marijuana remains criminalized.
What is even more disturbing is that the Chief Justice has not raised his voice in the matter which in now in the public domain. Yet his silence is no great surprise since he has been operating as an incompetent from day one. It begs the question is the Attorney General and by extension the ruling administration running the show in Law Courts and in enforcement of the law? I clearly remember when the workers of a Government Department went to clear an offending encroachment at the Villages of Coverley that a call from a Minister prevented them from taking action.
Recently, the case of the Chief Town Planner against Mark Maloney was granted a stay. It is another glaring indication that the Court system has been compromised. One hears stories about documents that go missing, files that cannot be found, tampered evidence but never before was a request made by the prosecuting attorney to have a person come to Court and he did not appear nor was any valid reason given as in this case with an outcome of a stay being granted to the offending party. If or when the case is ever called, the building next to the Flour Mill will be complete. It was left to the public to concluded that there must have been some agreement between the DPP and the Mr. Maloney. Again, the public can never be sure that there has been no interference in this case. So why is the state paying an unethical Director of Public Prosecution to be on the side of an offending party? This case has set a precedent for persons to refuse to comply with the directives of the Town and Country Planning Department.
The Court system is in shambles. It cannot guarantee a trial in a reasonable time. This is another way of guaranteeing that true justice will be denied because of the length of time it takes for the matters to be heard. Witnesses would have died or left the island. I too am aggrieved by the justice system. I have been waiting for the past 16 years to have a case resolved.
The questionable decisions in the law Courts have raised many issues involving oppression, race, class and the removal out dated laws which no longer serve the best interest of society. We also need laws that can be enforced as remedies for corruption, from the Constitution down our laws must be reexamined. In the year 2016 we simply cannot sustain a system that can only persecute the poor because drugs and guns are not imported by the poor. Well known rumors of the importers of these contraband goods are not even investigated far less have an appointment at the Law Courts.
Fifty years of independence and the Court System has been reduced to a satellite of a corrupt Parliament, with an unethical Director of Public Prosecutions and a Commissioner of Police whose hands are tied except for the execution by some of his officers of brute force towards the poor.
So where do we go from here? We must rethink this exercise of service to our country and the authority we give to caretakers on our behalf. The law and its enforcement must be honorable. It must be a privilege to serve the serve the people; to uphold and protect the rights of citizens and to do what is civil and just by them.
When all is said and done what is happening in Barbados will cause me to light up a spliff not only out of frustration or solidarity of there being no justice for the common man but more importantly because I want the people of Barbados to finally see the LIGHT. Prevent the rise of anarchy by persons taking the law into their own hands by joining me in signing the below petition to the Prime Minister. Let him know that the only consultation the people of Barbados need is on who will replace the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the policemen responsible for the above mentioned brutality. Remove the problem and the consequences will disappear. Also join the Barbados Lobby on Facebook because justice must be served!
1. The dismissal from office of the Attorney General and the Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions and the policemen responsible for brutalizing Nazim Blackett.
2. The overhauling of the Court System.
3. The decriminalization of marijuana.