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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ralph Gonsalves, Colin Williams And Vincentian Right To Seek Justice

In 1998-1999 I declared my intention to run for the chairmanship, of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force; Police Welfare Association (P.W.A). As a result of my public declaration, the Commissioner of Police (COP) failed to facilitate the said elections in the time that was prescribed by law and which was the normal trend. So I wrote to the COP, to bring to his attention his contravention of the Police act and requested that he put the machinery in place to facilitate the P.W.A general elections, which was overly late. I also informed him that failure to do so, will be resulted in me taking him to the Magistrate court in a private civil suit. In retrospect I have concluded that I was too radical for that era.

As a result of my threat to cause court proceedings brought against the Commissioner of Police; the institution (Police Force) saw a speedy implementation and execution of the P.W.A general elections. Although I did not have to take the commissioner to court, for his infraction to the laws of the land, a threat to do so was enough, to secure my rights and prevent the rights of hundreds of Vincentians from being violated. Had it not been for this piece of law, then my alternative would have been to make threats of High Court proceedings which the commissioner knew was far outside my financial capabilities.

Should the Vincentian community allow Ralph Gonsalves, to make this piece of law, of none effect, such actions will not only be a slap in the face of our Legal forefathers but will also send St. Vincent and the Grenadines back into the dark forties; an era, where ones rights were denied base on one's social standing and the color of one's skin.

Our Legal forefather’s were wise enough, to ensure the poor and those who are not prestigious enough to influence the justice system, to work on their behalf had/have a simple, cheap and private avenue to seek and find justice. For example; in cases where the police fail to or it was/is not in the police interest to take one of the society prestigious residents to court, for some criminal infringment against another; the offended party has the opportunity to have their story be heard by a magistrate and to have that magistrate adjudicate on that matter. It does not matter if that person (s) win or lose the case; what mattered however, the offended party/parties was given the opportunity to fight for their rights, and in turn (win or lose) received justice.

However, it seems like this well though out means whereby, members of the community can seek Justice is being threatened by Ralph E. Gonsalves the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Instead of Mr. Gonsalves try to make it easier for the community to seek justice, he is trying to take from the people, the one means whereby, the poor and simple can seek systematic legal redress regardless of their status.

Mr. Gonsalves used every effort to avoid prosecution for serious allegations brought against him. As a result; Gonsalves and the Director of Public Prosecution (D.P.P) Colin Williams are making a mockery of our Justice system; their actions are causing this clear and profound piece of law to be plunged into obscurity. Who does this benefit? No one else but Ralph E. Gonsalves.

For the forth time the director of Public Prosecution, stepped in on behalf of Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and cause more than 14 criminal and civil charges to be nolle prosequi (to be denied the opportunity of a court hearing). What is strange is; throughout the legal history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there have never been a case where the director of public prosecution ever step in and discontinued a private criminal or civil matter. Yet in three years, The Director of public prosecution Collin Williams stepped in on behalf of Ralph Gonsalves, and cause over 14 criminal and civil complaints brought by private citizens against Ralph E. Gonsalves to be thrown out and in the process denying the victims their right and the Justice system to work for them.

The questions that must be asked and answered are:
  • from since February 2008, when the first private criminal case was thrown out by Collin Williams; of the thousands of private cases that was taken before the court after the first event, by private citizen. How many other cases did Collin Williams review with a view to have those cases nolle prose?
  • Is Ralph Gonsalves the only person in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who was taken before the court with alleged frivolous matter?

  • Isn’t it within the community’s best interest and in the interest of justice for the community to know, what are the procedures to get the Director of Public Prosecution, to take an interest in a case, with the view of having that case nolle prosequi (be denied a court hearing)?
Ever since the D.P.P stepped in and prevent first case from going to trial, all those who stood in favor of the DPP’s actions, have been instrumental in pointing out, to the public, how this law should not be used/applied, however; no one was/is willing to tell the community, the manner in which this piece of law, should be applied as it relates to the D.P.P's powers. Unfortunately; these legal authorities, are not giving any legal grounds for their conclusion; but provides only frivolous excuses, to justify Colin Williams' action. It is a shame, not even Parnell R. Campbell, a now U.L.P defender; who took on himself, the worthy responsibility, to teach the community all about the law and legal matter, in his television program; is not willing to honestly explain this matter to the community.

I know for a fact, if any of the legal minds honestly address this matter, it will be confirmed that the D.P.P was wrong, in his actions to deny the victims their lawful rights, to seek justice via the private court system.

It is not Colin Williams or Ralph Gonsalves responsibility to monitor and protect the justice system. The excuses that are given by Ralph Gonsalves and Collin Williams in justifying their actions of denying the community of their rights are: the matters are frivolous and there is not enough evidence. As a police officer I have taken many so-called frivolous matters before the court, which went to trial and I secure convictions. Within the Justice system there are means build in to that system, which is geared to discourage members of the state from bring frivolous cases before the court; the awarding of hefty court and legal cost to the losing party is just one way, In the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court as well as other court; there is the master system which also contributed and acts as a buffer preventing malicious and frivolous cases from reaching the trial stage. We must also remember, it is still a crime to maliciously bring false criminal allegations against anyone.

With this in mind do we need Ralph Gonsalves or Colin Williams to defend the Justice system. If Ralph Gonsalves will concern himsalf with the business of managing and growing the state resources and the Director of Public Prosecution will concern himself with managing his office and ensure he put in the needed time to ensure he and his staff are prepared to defend the public interest in the court of law it will serve the country best.

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