Paul Lismore

[Paul Lismore] The real message from the 3 MMM electoral petitioners : we do not trust our judiciary

Rédigé par Paul Lismore le Mercredi 16 Mars 2022

And who would argue with that? 28 months after electoral petitions were submitted, only a few have been resolved so far, usually by petitioners giving up and abandoning the fight, or the courts coming up with some weird verdict as in the Ezra Jhuboo case, where Their Honour found nothing wrong with a disreputable and almost universally vilified computer system that no one except the government had ever heard of.

Arianne Navarre-Marie was at pains to justify the 3 MMM petitioners' decision to abandon their case. She came up with a rather convoluted explanation about a missing ballot from Constituency 1 mysteriously finding itself in constituency 19, and how this presaged more "irregularities" in Constituency 1, and that despite this, the courts will still insist on a recount which is no longer a recount due to the overlooked irregularities. In other words, a repetition of the judicial rigmarole in Constituency 19 was likely to repeat itself in Constituency 1, and nothing would have changed.

What have our courts achieved so far, 28 months down the road? Apart from having the dubious distinction of showing our judicial system to be way behind the African countries that some take great pleasure in mocking, our courts have done a wonderful job in eviscerating most of the contents of the petitions submitted by many. The petitioners having been left with a skeletal petition rightly decided to abandon their hopes of fair treatment by the judiciary. 

In our so called etat de droit, judicial discretion is used primarily to get the corrupt off the charges that they face, and the thoroughly misused and over exploited "Abuse of process" arguments often find a helpful judicial ear. But not when it comes to disputing the results of the last elections which most people consider to have been neither free nor fair. Here, if the petitioners have somehow not included that cesspit of corruption and nastiness, the MBC, as one of the respondents, out goes every reference to the MBC from those petitions!

It would be hard to believe that any court in a real democracy would have massacred the petitions in such a way; the sensible and just approach would have been for the petitioners to be allowed to add MBC to its list of respondents, esp as so much time has already been wasted in hearing some time wasting and rather stupid points of law . But not in our etat de droit, apparently, where judges' insistence on following the letter of usually badly drafted laws seems to form the main ingredients of the wet dreams of la cuisine...

Perhaps the most comprehensive dissection of the corrupt electoral practices of 2019 was provided by Roshi Bhadain. Unfortunately, the letter of the law says that elections can only be contested via petitions and not via the judicial review that Roshi Bhadain asked for...And our Honourable judges were delighted to obey the letter of the "law" and to kick Bhadain's judicial review into touch, a review that would have highlighted the many corrupt electoral practices of 2019...

Arianne Marie-Navarre, Veda Baloomoody, and Giovanni Catherine have done the only sensible thing when faced with the perception that no matter what, our courts will side with an electoral commissioner who has lost all credibility, and with those who were elected through corruption and nasty practices: abandon their petitions.

I only wish they would have given us the real reasons, that most people have now lost faith in our institutions, and  that the judiciary is no longer held in the esteem and respect it once did. Have you noticed how the only people who yap about the "independence of our judiciary" are our politicians, some quite thick zourlanus, and the rich and the well connected?

Unfortunately, most of us have given up on our institutions, and the little hope that we had in the judiciary standing upright and protecting our rights has vanished. 
That is a dangerous sign for our democracy..

Mercredi 16 Mars 2022

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