WPA Statement to the Media
December 22, 2021
WPA is incensed but not surprised at government minister Nigel Dharamlall’s strident call for the removal of two Court of Appeal Judges who ruled that the Appeal Court has jurisdiction to hear the appeal of the Chief Justice’s decision to throw out one of the elections petitions on a technicality. To begin with, the WPA rejects any characterization of the Minister’s call as free speech or as a frivolous tantrum from a misguided young man. The Minister’s statement must be seen in the wider context of PPP’s mode of governance and the political disrespect that it has spawned among its functionaries.
WPA views this as nothing short of political thuggery in high places . The Minister’s utterances are part of the larger PPP plan to muzzle all individuals and institutions which disagree with the government. The party views disagreements as hostility to the party and the executive branch of government. It is a dangerous development that threatens the very foundations of our plural society. Our country has walked this road before, and the PPP should not be permitted to drag us again into the muddy waters of dictatorial rule.
We feel that Mr. Dharamlall’s call for “defrocking” the judges because they ruled against the PPP is a direct attack on the integrity of the court from a representative of another co-equal branch of government—a case of urging a revolt against a branch with which he disagrees. It comes in the wake of a similar attack on the Court of Appeal from two UWI academics with alleged links to the PPP. This is a direct and coordinated attempt to discredit a section of the Judiciary.
WPA has no problems with criticisms of rulings by the court, but we strongly object to the singling out of officers of the judiciary for the kind of mindless attacks we hear from the Minister. The Minister is not a private citizen; he is a government operative bearing all the power of the government and the State. Since the minister knows that the judges cannot be removed, his statements have to be read as inciting hatred against that section of the judiciary.
Coming also in the wake of a similarly offensive statement by another minister about a section of our multi-ethnic community, one must conclude that PPP ministers see part of their job as “political pit bulls.” WPA notes that the minister has removed selective words from his statement, but that is not a reflection of repentance. Until the government censors the minister and makes a definitive statement rejecting the letter and spirit of his call to action, WPA holds the government equally responsible for this act.