Self-reliance and the CCJ
published: Saturday November 22, 2008
The Editor, Sir:
I read with a great deal of interest the articles 'What can we learn from the Irish?' by John Rapley and 'Patrick Robinson and the Caribbean Court' by Devon Dick in today's Gleaner (Nov 20).
Mr Rapley made the point that the Irish only started to develop when they abandoned all excuses for their condition and took responsibility for their country.
Mr Dick spoke about some of the brilliant judges Jamaica has produced and wondered why we cannot move from the Privy Council to a Caribbean Court of Appeal. These articles are so closely related that it's almost as if these gentlemen collaborated on them.
The irony of this apparent synchronisation became even stronger when Mr Dick mentioned that it was an Irish company (Digicel) which first had faith in Usain Bolt who has made all Jamaicans (and West Indians) so proud this year.
lack of self-confidence
I congratulate Messrs Rapley and Dick on these wonderful articles. The lack of self-confidence indicated by both gentlemen is indeed our main stumbling block to development. Our failure to take control of our justice system, through the CCJ, is one of the most glaring examples of this lack of self-confidence and dependency syndrome that we have.
Another example, which I will write about at another time, was the question by some Jamaicans as to what Barack Obama will do for the Caribbean. When we become independent, we will realise that the important question is not what Barack Obama can do for the Caribbean, but what he can do to make a safer and fairer world in which we can make our way through our own efforts.
Living in Trinidad, I pass the headquarters of the CCJ every day. Each day, I remember how idle the court is while my final court of appeal remains in the UK - a country I cannot even visit without a visa.
deep sense of shame
I feel a deep sense of shame in our impotence as Caribbean people. If we felt that we were not quite ready to control our justice system, we could, at least, have set a target date for us to achieve independence from the Privy Council.
We have not even do that. And, please don't get me started on my head of state - a wonderful lady who also resides in that wonderful country I cannot visit without a visa. It appears that we intend to remain dependentsforever.
Mr Rapley pointed out that the Irish "were messing up for much longer before they got their act right". I suppose we intend to beat that record.
I am, etc.,
HUGH P. SMYTHE
10 Schooner Court
Trinidad & Tobago