Sa­muda should apol­o­gise to the ju­di­ciary

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir: MEM­BER OF Par­lia­ment for North Cen­tral St An­drew Karl Sa­muda is a vet­eran politi­cian who is well liked by his con­stituents, hence his re­peated vic­tory in the gen­eral elec­tions, even when he switches par­ties.

What tran­spired last week, how­ever, showed a man who was un­der pres­sure from his sup­port­ers who demon­strated their anger by burn­ing shirts with his im­ages be­cause he was miss­ing in ac­tion to res­cue them from be­com­ing home­less.

In a bid to ease the ten­sion and frus­tra­tion, and to as­sure his com­mit­ment to the con­stituents of 85 Red Hills Road, Sa­muda made a most fright­en­ing state­ment. He said: “Any judge who de­clares that a per­son who claims to own the land, whether it is so or not, has a right to evict peo­ple [will] not be tol­er­ated.”

There is ab­so­lutely no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for Sa­muda to have made such a brazen and of­fen­sive state­ment against any mem­ber of our ju­di­ciary.

WELL RE­SPECTED

As a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, and a well-re­spected and in­flu­en­tial one at that, Sa­muda should have known bet­ter than to even think of in­ter­fer­ing with the ju­di­ciary.

The rea­son we prac­tise a tri­par­tite sys­tem of gov­er­nance is to pre­vent the con­cen­tra­tion of power and in­flu­ence from politi­cians like Sa­muda, and to pro­vide for the nec­es­sary checks and bal­ances.

Once a prop­erty owner can prove own­er­ship, then it means that he or she has the claim of right and can evict squat­ters from their land. Who is Sa­muda to dic­tate what he or she does in dis­pos­ing of or de­vel­op­ing their prop­erty?

While I com­mend Sa­muda for ‘res­cu­ing’ his con­stituents, it should never be detri­men­tal to or at the ex­pense of the prop­erty owner.

The prime min­is­ter must be de­ci­sive and di­rect him to re­tract those state­ments and to of­fer a for­mal apol­ogy to the ju­di­ciary, the pub­lic at large and, par­tic­u­larly, to the prop­erty owner for his seem­ing op­pres­sive stance and in­tim­ida­tory tac­tics. It must not be tol­er­ated. DUJON RUS­SELL dujon.rus­sell@ya­hoo.com

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