THE EDITOR: Today I say a prayer for the family of Vindra Naipaul-Coolman who faced the most brutal of murders in TT's history. Only God can grant them peace and strength in times such as this.
Seeing the accused receive an order in their favour for over $20 million in payouts has raised several eyebrows and angered a large segment of our population but not for the reasons one would suspect.
It is absurd that after filing an appearance in the matter, the State, as reported in the daily press, failed to file a defence or put forward any argument in the matter to justify the detention and prosecution of these nine individuals.
Lead prosecutor Israel Khan, SC opined, 'Despite the verdicts of the jury, on the evidence, there was reasonable and probable cause to arrest the men.' Surely a better effort could have been put forward.
Khan went further to say that 'millions were spent by the State to hire the 16 attorneys for the defence and three Senior Counsel for the State.' Did the State consult with Senior Counsel or external counsel on this malicious prosecution claim before deciding to not defend?
It is reported that the State only appeared during the assessment of damages to be heard on quantum. The Office of the Solicitor General answers to the Attorney General and this being a civil case, ought to have been treated a high priority matter.
The taxpayer must now foot the bill of yet another Government blunder. How much must we endure? For years the Offices of the DPP, the Commissioner of Police and many others with critical importance in the fight against crime have been under-resourced and the results are glaring.
Low conviction rates, improper collection and handling of evidence, poor case management and now even a lack of effort on the part of the State in defending malicious prosecution claims create a perfect breeding ground for crime to thrive. In the circumstances, is the alarming murder rate really that farfetched?
The Government has a tendency to shrug off any criticism by deeming it 'political' while setting the bar lower in each year of holding office since 2015.
My message to acting Attorney General Stuart Young is that investigating is no longer sufficient. This $20 million blunder must result in heads rolling. Show TT that there is some level of decency and accountability in the highest offices of the land.
History will not be kind to this Government.
RISHI ND TRIPATHI
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