After many weeks of speculation, discussion, and protestations, we have seen charges being brought against three individuals in the Cornelius John saga. Coupled with the bringing of these charges the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the person of the Director of Public Prosecutions herself, saw it fit to prepare and release a statement as to the steps that were taken in the investigative process and ultimately, the decision to lay multiple charges against named individuals. In the midst of this however, to the surprise, or not surprise of many, charges were laid against Mr. John.
The public has of course formed their opinions on the independence of various public offices such as that of the Commissioner of Police, Director of Public Prosecution and even that of the Magistracy. There has been much discourse surrounding the integrity of these persons and the likelihood of justice being obtained despite these charges being brought.
This article however is not purposed for determining, agreeing, or disputing any sentiments felt by members of the public, but however to examine how we arrived at this point.
So how did we get here? The long and short answer is that we have made our beds and we are now lying in it. We are reaping what we have sown. Now if you feel offended by that expression, let us turn away from your personal affront and consider all the instances in which you, or someone who know, have made a seemingly innocent choice which was not necessarily right, but did not appear to do any harm.
We all know of an instance where we have accused someone of being dunce for doing the right thing; or where we called our police friend to teach our antagonist a lesson. We know of instances where a ‘small money’ was passed to someone to help us with something; or where we closed our eyes to varying forms of abuse to stay out of ‘man and woman ting’.
The list of personal choices that we make that impact on the current societal breakdown is endless. The fire that we once had for the development of our country has now been set back to finger pointing. Yes, it is easy to point the fingers at the politicians and those who are deemed to be their minions, but how did those politicians get there?
We can blame the police and say that they have fallen below the standards of policemen and women who performed with integrity like our fathers and grandfathers, but how did that standard fall?
We can blame every single person in a position of power both in government or opposition for whatever infraction we think they, or through their agent, may have committed against us, but how did that happen?
The breakdown in the agents of power in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can only be attributed to us as a people as we continue to make allowances for dishonest conduct. We welcome certain types of behaviour and when the proverbial horse bolts the stable, we ask ourselves how we have gotten here. When we give those persons we deem to be superior to us an inch, and they take the whole nail, why are we surprised?
We are to blame, and conversely, in us lies the salvation of our nation. As the cause of our problems, we too can be the solutions. It is no longer enough to lay blame. The time to act is now.