Fri | Sep 25, 2020

Was Malahoo Forte discerning?

Published:Friday | July 31, 2020 | 12:26 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Assertions are declarations or strong statements implying truth without proof, and when made by even the most learned and qualified people in high authority, they remain only opinions.

The question here is if the actual critical comments on the judiciary by Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte via social media are in any way similar to the imaginary ones outlined on healthcare. Was she discerning? Did she breach ministerial protocol?

Malahoo Forte has the democratic right to freely express herself. But this is not an ordinary citizen venting. She is a key functionary of the legal community, a former resident magistrate, justice of the peace, Queen’s Counsel, and the Government’s legal adviser, hence a tremendous weight of legal, ethical, and moral responsibilities rest on her.

Against the backdrop of states of emergency, and, reportedly, 35 per cent of citizenry lacking confidence in the judiciary, were her critical comments on the judiciary adding fuel to, or lighting a bigger fire?

SOCIETAL STABILITY

People in authority should be discerning and must remain mindful – especially when they think they are quite right – not to do or say things in the wrong manner or forum because this sometimes results in far-reaching demoralising and even catastrophic consequences. Picture a school principal rebuking a young history teacher before her class because he thought she had erred. This would seriously undermine the young teacher and could also shatter her self-esteem and confidence.

Our mental health and general well-being depend, to a great extent, on societal stability and the level of confidence we have in those in authority at work and in crucial ministries like finance, education, health, justice, and national security. Workplace victimisations, the challenges in education, the current COVID-19 pandemic, numerous serious crimes, and hundreds of homicides annually underscore this point.

There is a time and place for everything. Malahoo Forte will have time to reflect on whether she was discerning and whether her critical comments could cast doubt and undermine her own authority if she continues to occupy one of the highest offices in the land.

DAIVE FACEY

dr.facey@gmail.com