Own goal or straight red card?

Letters to the Editor

Own goal or straight red card?

Monday, June 15, 2020

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Dear Editor,

What am I missing? Michael “Mike” Henry, long-serving parliamentarian, has on two separate occasions declined to vote in the House of Representatives in favour of Jamaica abandoning the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the British tribunal which continues to occupy the position of our most superior court of justice.

On the first occasion he chose to abstain from voting. But at the second time of asking, in 2015, he was absolutely decisive by his vote. He registered a resounding “No!”

Henry has also stridently asserted over time that the descendants of the British who enslaved our forbears have unjustly withheld from us, the descendants of those “chattel slaves”, reparation that has long been due and owing for the unsurpassed myriad injustices wrought during that period of prolonged enslavement.

And yet, by his votes, he has publicly maintained that we should be content — he certainly is — with continuing to have those same unjust descendants of the British slave owners as our supreme judges who preside at the highest level, providing for us final, non-appealable pronouncements on justice matters, no less.

So, I suppose the rationale, as he sees it, would be that the dispensing of justice is divisible: It is quite permissible for individuals to be decidedly acting unjustly towards us in one set of circumstances and, at the same time, to be enjoined by us to act as the final arbiters on all matters pertaining to justice within our societal arrangements.

Strange logic, indeed!

One would have expected that every reparation evangelist would, in the same breath, be an early prominent lobbyist in the forefront of accepted developmental moves away from the British court. Help! What am I missing?

And especially so, when the British authorities at the highest level have strongly advised that they would prefer if we made use of the acknowledged well-appointed final regional court of justice that we have established for ourselves right here in the Caribbean.

Henry's utterly awkward contradictory positioning certainly entitles his counterpart in the House of Commons to observe: Blimey, how can good-faith reparation evangelism accommodate, and be reconciled with, a vote in the legislature of independent Jamaica to further cement their dependence on us, unjust descendants of those slave owners as they say, for final judgement on justice matters? And, even more unfathomable, a call for a referendum on the matter?

What really am I missing? Is that a Henry own goal, or has his irregular, out-of-place positioning on this present 'Black Lives Matter' field given rise to a straight red card penalty offence?

A J Nicholson

Officer Emeritus

People's National Party


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