One of my undying wishes as a young police officer many years ago in Jamaica was to see our country move from a nation of men and transform itself into a nation of laws.
Unfortunately, this did not seem to be in the cards anytime in my lifetime, and since I had only one life I was not about to wait around for that change to happen, I exited the stage.
The inequitable and unjust dispensation of justice is one of the reasons crime continues to be a stubborn problem for our country.
When poverty and austerity force some people to tighten their belts while they witness others who are so fat they have to loosen theirs, that’s a problem.
In that cesspool of contradiction and irony, dwells the upper crust who came into prominence through education. One would have thought that having witnessed the ravages of colonial domination they would be more empathetic to a system that favors equity and justice. Not so, for the most part, they became the new colonial masters themselves.
It’s now 2019 and though many have died out leaving a younger generation with the same values they had, still some remain alive and still they believe they have a right to impose their will on the future of our nation.
There is still the lingering assumptions within that group that somehow they have the final say in how our country should be run, and that whatever they say is law.….……No they are not the law, everyone in public office must obey the laws and comport themselves as such.
Recently, the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck blasted the police for arresting Ruel Reid and four co-accused for crimes associated with corruption. Chuck’s daughter is representing Reid as one of his attorneys.
We thought that this was highly improper given that (a) Chuck is the minister of justice. (b) Chuck stated that he did not know what the evidence was. © Chuck’s daughter like we said before, is representing Ruel Reid as one of his lawyers.
As such, we called on the Prime Minister to relieve Delroy Chuck of his position as Minister of Justice, since it was blatantly obvious that he would rather be in the role of defense attorney for Ruel Reid et al.
Our article was written before anyone in the local press saw or wrote about this incident. After our article, Delroy Chuck withdrew his comments but did not apologize.
As we stated in our article, we were not speaking about the accused’s presumed innocence or guilt. We are just happy to see that at least someone in government has been arrested for corruption.….…. yes arrested, we will take what we can at the moment.
Enter the erstwhile powerhouse lawyer Frank Phipps, Queen’s Counsel, in a rather lengthy article for one of the local papers.
Phipps: “The statement by Delroy Chuck, minister of justice, that was critical of the way the police acted in taking former minister of education and others in custody attracted nationwide attention with a call on the prime minister to demote him. This would be laughable but for the fact that so many believe it was misconduct that deserves some form of reprimand, including Chuck himself who withdrew the statement as being inappropriate for the minister of justice.
Clearly, the distinguished Frank Phipps with whom I have tangled before, on issues of common sense and protocol, has forgotten about the importance of the presumption that justice is done, and not just that it be done.
Now full disclosure, I am not a lawyer, and as such, I make no claim as to the specificity or minutia of the laws, however, if Mister Phipps believes that as Minister, Delroy Chuck can say whatever he wants about a case which is still being adjudicated, clearly he is off his bonkers.
As a Minister within the Government, (not to mention the minister with the Justice portfolio), Minister Chuck, or anyone in that capacity, has no business attacking state agents, particularly when there is no evidence of wrongdoing.
Delroy Chuck knew that his comments were inappropriate and that is the reason he withdrew them.
Nevertheless, in a rambling diatribe of vacuous legalese, designed ultimately to confuse the reader Frank Phipps went on.
These allegations, besides being a ridiculous restraint on free speech for Chuck, beg the question of whether he spoke on behalf of the Government, as a Cabinet minister, for which he should be sanctioned, and, more importantly, whether what was said merits his comment — no one has said it didn’t. His offence was a crime of omission identified as selective justice in a vacuum, without evidence to be heard otherwise.
Chuck’s withdrawal has left me hanging out alone for this small-scale version of the greater problem, defending individuals against the State’s excessive use of force. Paradoxically, in this case the accuser became the accused – Delroy Chuck’s criticism of the police lands him being accused of protecting an accused person for political reasons; a situation not unknown on the plantations. The remedy is not to deny Ruel Reid his rights and dignity as an accused with the presumption of innocence.
Frank Phipps expresses no understanding of the distinction between a regular Jamaican, and the Minister of Justice. His arguments in defense of Chuck are so ridiculous, that not even Chuck, who happens to be a lawyer, holds those beliefs, he withdrew his comments.
Phipps’ entire arguments seemed to be predicated on a triangular pillar, (a) his political affiliation, (b) his opposition to the police, © absence of mental lucidity and the inability to comprehend the duty officeholders have to be judicious.
See article here: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/opinion/the-impeaching-of-delroy-chuck-qc-_178365?profile=1096
It would be insane of me to try to dissect Mister Phipps’ Article point by point, as I would become exactly what I am critiquing. Sufficing to say that the entirety of the article seemed to be a sprinkling of law, fealty to friends and a political defense against the right of police to enforce the laws.
Noted and once revered, Harvard Law Professor Allan Dershowitz, has been a staple on American television for years. His views on the law were accepted as the final say, almost as a Supreme Court decision. So too has Mister Phipps been revered in Jamaica.
However, Allan Dershowitz’s alleged affiliations with Donald Trump seemed to have [trumped] common sense, like most of the other flunkies and toadies, Allan Dershowitz’s fealty and support of Donald Trump makes him so toxic and reviled he is only welcome on FOX, the propaganda arm of the political right.
Tragically, Mister Phipps has unwittingly cast himself in the untenable role as Jamaica’s Allan Dershowitz.
Despite disagreeing with mister Phipps on a number of issues in the past, I have the utmost respect for his legal acumen. He should seek to preserve that respect which he has earned over his lifetime, and through his body of work, and not squander it as Dershowitz has squandered his.
Maybe, just maybe it’s time for the esteemed mister Phipps to start thinking about packing it in.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.