EYEWITNESS: Who will watch…

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…the watchmen?

One problematic of democracy has been when giving ultimate power to any person or group of persons or institution has been the worry that they’ll then abuse that power, unrestrained by any control. During antiquity, it was expressed in the Latin phrase, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – Who will watch the watchmen??

In the bitter battle over in the US for their Senate to confirm Kavanaugh as a Justice of their Supreme Court, both sides knew exactly what was going on: President Trump was “packing the court”. Meaning, he was pushing a nominee whose record on judicial decisions was solidly “conservative” and “right wing” – like Trump – and expected the Republican-dominated Senate to go along with the like-minded Justice.

He wasn’t proven wrong!! And the US Supreme Court now has a built-in majority of conservative Justices who’re expected to promote the ideological bent of Trump on issues that’ll be coming before them. Now while all Presidents who preceded Trump wanted to have Justices of their apex court sharing their orientation, the “packing” was never done so blatantly and in a country that was so divided ideologically. The danger lies in the fact that in the US, the Supreme Court ends up pretty much creating most of the law on social issues – through sometimes rather creative methods. For instance, their famous “right to privacy” was discerned by one Supreme Court in “the penumbra of the Bill of Rights”!! Who will now watch the watchmen??

Trump himself exemplifies the cleavage of a right-wing upsurge against the Liberal paradigm that had dominated in the US for decades. One issue that will prove to be a lightning rod has been what the liberals had described as “the right of a woman over her body” as decided by the Supreme Court in the case of Roe v Wade in 1973. Women from then were able to legally have abortions until the foetus was “viable”.  Conservatives oppose this position vehemently, stressing, “the right to life of the child” and thus opposing abortions. The division is summarised as “pro-choice vs pro-life”, but extends into almost every facet of life – political, social, economic. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, therefore, presages a seismic shift in US social positions.

But while we’ve all been transfixed on the fight over US Supreme Court Judicial appointments, very few Guyanese have been commenting on President Granger’s determined effort to unilaterally appoint our top judicial officer – the Chancellor. Granger’s attack dog, Basil Williams, hounded Justice Carl Singh from the office and now has sidestepped his own acting appoint who was bumped up.

He wants an ex-GDF squaddie turned Judge to fill the spot. “Packing” doesn’t get more blatant than that!!

 …coastal agri?

Guyanese can’t complain that the PNC didn’t tell them about their plans for agriculture. Since it was dominated on the coast by supporters of the PPP, in their manifesto they announced they were pushing “hinterland agriculture”. And we know supporters of the PPP are notoriously tied to their homes and family and aren’t about to relocate to the “bush”! After facilitating the movement of THEIR supporters to those locales, the PNC mightn’t even NEED  gerrymandering!!

Agri Minister Holder just announced he’s setting up “agricultural stations” in interior locations to provide seedlings, etc, for a host of crops. Expect other goodies to follow – like back in the “co-op” days to make the “small (PNC) man into the real man”!! But that wasn’t their entire plan to kill coastal agri – Candidate Granger had announced he’d privatise sugar but pretended to change his position on the entreaties of the AFC. But as soon as the vote was counted – wham!! There went four sugar estates!!
Now we know why fired coastal sugar workers weren’t facilitated to enter into cash crops!

…Ramnarine’s back?

Khemraj Ramjattan, the putative Public Security Minister, wants ex-COP (ag) Ramnarine to return and work under five persons who were his juniors!!

Your Eyewitness hopes Ramnarine, unlike Ramjattan, has a modicum of self-respect!!

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