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Posted: Wednesday 13 February, 2019 at 9:09 AM

Justice, Prosperity & The DPP

By: Patrick Martin MD, Commentary

    I am satisfied that the Office of the DPP correctly asserted and validated the independence and professionalism of Caribbean justice. The principle of separation of powers is alive and working; albeit partially, pending the necessary division between the executive and the legislature.    

     

    Something had to be amiss in the Court House for the Learned DPP to publicly have his officers back. Only a selectively deaf legal practitioner could claim to be unaware of the recurring pyroclastic flows of overlord behavior spewing from on high.  
     
    Why do some people preside over toxic work environments? Why are workers not finding joy at work and joy in their work? Can anything good come out of the “enough is enough” stance taken by the DPP?
     
    All aspiring political candidates loudly promise optimal working conditions when they get into office. Only to find inadequate workplace ventilation, forced overtime, victimization, sexual harassment, belittlement and other forms of oppressive working conditions, in 21st century St. Kitts and Nevis.  
     
    Workplace tyranny is a health and development issue. It contributes to the Federation’s high rates of depression, obesity, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and the like. Political and business leaders are aware of the increasing economic burden of these non-communicable disorders. They have seen the Social Security data that shows the unsustainability of current rates of worker absenteeism and presenteeism. 
     
    The DPP was right to speak-up for the health and dignity of his staff. And, the Bar Association’s “amicus brief” amounted to saying, “Me too!”  
     
    But what about the bigger picture of worker protection?  We will be in good standing when unions are not infected by partisan politics; when the Office of the Ombudsman, the Labour Department and integrity in public life legislation have teeth; and when permanent secretaries and the Public Service Commission act according to their constitutional mandate to be fair and fearless.      
     
    As the seventh smallest nation in a hostile world, St. Kitts and Nevis is wholly dependent on its human resources. Only high caliber workers can produce the high quality goods and services needed to bolster the economy and social cohesion.  
     
    Thus, justice and prosperity are inextricably linked. They are endangered and destroyed by low morale and high attrition caused by the bullying and incompetence of higher-ups.    
     
    Recall the wisdom of Aristotle: “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” The action of Office of the DPP was a lesson: every legislative and executive action is subject to judicial review. And, there are legal practitioners with the courage and competence to fight for optimal working conditions and prosperity for all.     
     
     
     
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