Lack of jus­tice nour­ish­ing cyn­i­cism

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

A pos­i­tive out­come of the Keat­ing Re­port was the Child Care Act, which spawned a num­ber of over­sight of­fices, in­clud­ing that of the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cate, whose job it is to pur­sue the rights and wel­fare of chil­dren. It is that of­fice which was be­hind the case on be­half of the Ar­madale six, who are now adults, which claimed breaches of the con­sti­tu­tional rights by the Ja­maican State.

In­deed, section 13(2)(h) of the Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees Ja­maicans “the right to eq­ui­table and hu­mane treat­ment by any pub­lic author­ity in the ex­er­cise of any func­tion”, while (k) (i) of the same section guar­an­tees to ev­ery child “such mea­sures of pro­tec­tion as are re­quired by virtue of the sta­tus of be­ing a mi­nor or as part of the fam­ily, so­ci­ety and the State”.

While the six girls in this case did suf­fer phys­i­cal in­juries dur­ing the events of 2009, it is clear that the Ja­maican State did not live up to its obli­ga­tions and fur­ther proved that they suf­fered psy­cho­log­i­cally as a re­sult. Sig­nif­i­cantly, lawyers for the Ja­maican State, in the end, con­ceded these points. On the face of it, and sub­ject to any pe­riod of lim­i­ta­tions that may ap­ply, the way ap­pears open to oth­ers of the Ar­madale girls to see re­dress.

But just as im­por­tant is the fact that crit­i­cal Ja­maican in­sti­tu­tions, em­brac­ing big ideas about rights and democ­racy, worked. That is civil­is­ing. THE ED­I­TOR, Sir: IN THE af­ter­math of any tragedy which grips the na­tional at­ten­tion, we are con­fronted by nu­mer­ous ghosts which never seem to cease haunt­ing us. These ghosts of our col­lec­tive past, present and pos­si­bly fu­ture, serve as fright­en­ing re­minders of the daily hor­rors which are vis­ited, far too fre­quently, on many name­less cit­i­zens of this coun­try. There are com­mu­ni­ties across the length and breadth of Ja­maica which bleed daily.

This lat­est mas­sacre in March Pen, Span­ish Town, has served to not only di­vert the na­tion’s at­ten­tion, if only for a mo­ment, from the in­ner city of Mon­tego Bay, but also to add to the bur­geon­ing statis­tics for the cat­e­gories of child and adult fa­tal­i­ties. But, un­for­tu­nately still, the ugli­est re­flec­tion of this lat­est episode is per­haps the heavy dose of ven­omous cyn­i­cism which it has in­jected into the na­tional blood­stream. This cyn­i­cism, which is fed by se­ri­ous doubts and a lack of con­fi­dence in the in­ves­tiga­tive ca­pac­ity of the con­stab­u­lary and fur­ther nour­ished by a gap­ing abyss ex­ist­ing where jus­tice should be, is grow­ing and its in­sid­i­ous ef­fects of learned help­less­ness are be­com­ing crip­pling.

STILL­BORN JUS­TICE

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