In Rambling Article, Frank Phipps Could Be Mistaken For Allan Dershowitz…


One of my undy­ing wish­es as a young police offi­cer many years ago in Jamaica was to see our coun­try move from a nation of men and trans­form itself into a nation of laws.
Unfortunately, this did not seem to be in the cards any­time in my life­time, and since I had only one life I was not about to wait around for that change to hap­pen, I exit­ed the stage.
The inequitable and unjust dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice is one of the rea­sons crime con­tin­ues to be a stub­born prob­lem for our coun­try.
When pover­ty and aus­ter­i­ty force some peo­ple to tight­en their belts while they wit­ness oth­ers who are so fat they have to loosen theirs, that’s a prob­lem.

In that cesspool of con­tra­dic­tion and irony, dwells the upper crust who came into promi­nence through edu­ca­tion. One would have thought that hav­ing wit­nessed the rav­ages of colo­nial dom­i­na­tion they would be more empa­thet­ic to a sys­tem that favors equi­ty and jus­tice. Not so, for the most part, they became the new colo­nial mas­ters them­selves.
It’s now 2019 and though many have died out leav­ing a younger gen­er­a­tion with the same val­ues they had, still some remain alive and still they believe they have a right to impose their will on the future of our nation.
There is still the lin­ger­ing assump­tions with­in that group that some­how they have the final say in how our coun­try should be run, and that what­ev­er they say is law.….……No they are not the law, every­one in pub­lic office must obey the laws and com­port them­selves as such.

Recently, the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck blast­ed the police for arrest­ing Ruel Reid and four co-accused for crimes asso­ci­at­ed with cor­rup­tion. Chuck’s daugh­ter is rep­re­sent­ing Reid as one of his attor­neys.
We thought that this was high­ly improp­er giv­en that (a) Chuck is the min­is­ter of jus­tice. (b) Chuck stat­ed that he did not know what the evi­dence was. © Chuck’s daugh­ter like we said before, is rep­re­sent­ing Ruel Reid as one of his lawyers.
As such, we called on the Prime Minister to relieve Delroy Chuck of his posi­tion as Minister of Justice, since it was bla­tant­ly obvi­ous that he would rather be in the role of defense attor­ney for Ruel Reid et al.
Our arti­cle was writ­ten before any­one in the local press saw or wrote about this inci­dent. After our arti­cle, Delroy Chuck with­drew his com­ments but did not apol­o­gize.
As we stat­ed in our arti­cle, we were not speak­ing about the accused’s pre­sumed inno­cence or guilt. We are just hap­py to see that at least some­one in gov­ern­ment has been arrest­ed for cor­rup­tion.….…. yes arrest­ed, we will take what we can at the moment.

Enter the erst­while pow­er­house lawyer Frank Phipps, Queen’s Counsel, in a rather lengthy arti­cle for one of the local papers.
Phipps: “The state­ment by Delroy Chuck, min­is­ter of jus­tice, that was crit­i­cal of the way the police act­ed in tak­ing for­mer min­is­ter of edu­ca­tion and oth­ers in cus­tody attract­ed nation­wide atten­tion with a call on the prime min­is­ter to demote him. This would be laugh­able but for the fact that so many believe it was mis­con­duct that deserves some form of rep­ri­mand, includ­ing Chuck him­self who with­drew the state­ment as being inap­pro­pri­ate for the min­is­ter of jus­tice.

Clearly, the dis­tin­guished Frank Phipps with whom I have tan­gled before, on issues of com­mon sense and pro­to­col, has for­got­ten about the impor­tance of the pre­sump­tion that jus­tice is done, and not just that it be done.
Now full dis­clo­sure, I am not a lawyer, and as such, I make no claim as to the speci­fici­ty or minu­tia of the laws, how­ev­er, if Mister Phipps believes that as Minister, Delroy Chuck can say what­ev­er he wants about a case which is still being adju­di­cat­ed, clear­ly he is off his bonkers.
As a Minister with­in the Government, (not to men­tion the min­is­ter with the Justice port­fo­lio), Minister Chuck, or any­one in that capac­i­ty, has no busi­ness attack­ing state agents, par­tic­u­lar­ly when there is no evi­dence of wrong­do­ing.
Delroy Chuck knew that his com­ments were inap­pro­pri­ate and that is the rea­son he with­drew them.

Nevertheless, in a ram­bling dia­tribe of vac­u­ous legalese, designed ulti­mate­ly to con­fuse the read­er Frank Phipps went on.

These alle­ga­tions, besides being a ridicu­lous restraint on free speech for Chuck, beg the ques­tion of whether he spoke on behalf of the Government, as a Cabinet min­is­ter, for which he should be sanc­tioned, and, more impor­tant­ly, whether what was said mer­its his com­ment — no one has said it did­n’t. His offence was a crime of omis­sion iden­ti­fied as selec­tive jus­tice in a vac­u­um, with­out evi­dence to be heard oth­er­wise.
Chuck’s with­draw­al has left me hang­ing out alone for this small-scale ver­sion of the greater prob­lem, defend­ing indi­vid­u­als against the State’s exces­sive use of force. Paradoxically, in this case the accuser became the accused – Delroy Chuck’s crit­i­cism of the police lands him being accused of pro­tect­ing an accused per­son for polit­i­cal rea­sons; a sit­u­a­tion not unknown on the plan­ta­tions. The rem­e­dy is not to deny Ruel Reid his rights and dig­ni­ty as an accused with the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence.

Frank Phipps express­es no under­stand­ing of the dis­tinc­tion between a reg­u­lar Jamaican, and the Minister of Justice. His argu­ments in defense of Chuck are so ridicu­lous, that not even Chuck, who hap­pens to be a lawyer, holds those beliefs, he with­drew his com­ments.
Phipps’ entire argu­ments seemed to be pred­i­cat­ed on a tri­an­gu­lar pil­lar, (a) his polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion, (b) his oppo­si­tion to the police, © absence of men­tal lucid­i­ty and the inabil­i­ty to com­pre­hend the duty office­hold­ers have to be judi­cious.
See arti­cle here: http://​www​.jamaicaob​serv​er​.com/​o​p​i​n​i​o​n​/​t​h​e​-​i​m​p​e​a​c​h​i​n​g​-​o​f​-​d​e​l​r​o​y​-​c​h​u​c​k​-​q​c​-​_​1​7​8​3​6​5​?​p​r​o​f​i​l​e​=​1​096

Image result for alan dershowitz
Allan Dershowitz

It would be insane of me to try to dis­sect Mister Phipps’ Article point by point, as I would become exact­ly what I am cri­tiquing. Sufficing to say that the entire­ty of the arti­cle seemed to be a sprin­kling of law, feal­ty to friends and a polit­i­cal defense against the right of police to enforce the laws.

Noted and once revered, Harvard Law Professor Allan Dershowitz, has been a sta­ple on American tele­vi­sion for years. His views on the law were accept­ed as the final say, almost as a Supreme Court deci­sion. So too has Mister Phipps been revered in Jamaica.
However, Allan Dershowitz’s alleged affil­i­a­tions with Donald Trump seemed to have [trumped] com­mon sense, like most of the oth­er flunkies and toad­ies, Allan Dershowitz’s feal­ty and sup­port of Donald Trump makes him so tox­ic and reviled he is only wel­come on FOX, the pro­pa­gan­da arm of the polit­i­cal right.
Tragically, Mister Phipps has unwit­ting­ly cast him­self in the unten­able role as Jamaica’s Allan Dershowitz.
Despite dis­agree­ing with mis­ter Phipps on a num­ber of issues in the past, I have the utmost respect for his legal acu­men. He should seek to pre­serve that respect which he has earned over his life­time, and through his body of work, and not squan­der it as Dershowitz has squan­dered his.
Maybe, just maybe it’s time for the esteemed mis­ter Phipps to start think­ing about pack­ing it in.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, a busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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