Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ism Schism

Ageing we say comes with increased responsibilities. This may be true but for the sake of argument not entirely. On the one hand children have a lot of responsibilities, among them, to be children. Children must maintain respect for their elders even as they seem as a separate species to be pushing that boundary more and more with each generation. They have homework even though for some that one seems optional, ahem. But the fact is that apart from the responsibilities of childhood adults have autonomy and in some ways that allows them to eschew responsibility under the protection of knowing what is best and with the authority to decide such.

Many of my friends as we have aged have children, mortgages and the likes, I chose to further my education by doing both undergrad and postgrad in my later years. I also decide to be more responsible by letting go of some of my younger ways, at least to some extent.

Today we celebrate Republic Day. Simply put it means the Queen of England is no longer Head of State. We went through the Governor General state that many Commonwealth nations are still in, including some of our regional neighbours and partners and we went a step further by becoming a republic with the role of the President being established and accepted as a replacement for the Crown. We celebrate this annually on September 24th.

I wake up today, though, and being the troubled soul that I am I say that we cant be totally Republican until we let go of the Privy Council. Forgive my bad manners as I bluntly ask can we truly say we are a Republican state when our highest court of appeal is still based in London? I am always wary of being the cockroach in fowl party, lest I run afoul of the ruling party, and I’m sure there may be legal and other justifications that allow us to celebrate the cutting of ties with Mother England but the fact is that we haven’t, not entirely.

The Caribbean Court of Justice is proudly headquartered right here in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago yet we don’t take it on. This is laugh out loud funny and dead serious at the same time. The other joke is that we want to make as if yeah, we have much to celebrate on this day.

The rejection of the CCJ in argument is based on us being a small state and the challenges of maintaining fairness in such a judicial environment. I mean maybe with due reason after a Judge walked away from the bench one day and found himself on the back bench of Parliament some time later. Yes, maybe it is true that justice is hard to find when politicians and judges often find themselves sharing alma maters and hors d’oeuvres. That’s real and must be considered but it speaks to a mistrust of each other.

As I age it is less the responsibilities of civil arrangements that occupy my mind and its because I first have to know myself and I also have to trust myself, it’s just the responsible thing for me to do.  Happy Republic Day!

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