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Saturday 21 July 2018
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2018: a red-letter year

The year 2018 looms and with it many red-letter developments. The year will begin with an early Carnival, which is already off to a shaky start after its official launch had to be postponed. All eyes will be on the newly installed board of the National Carnival Commission to see if Colin Lucas can deliver on a challenging mandate. Then, if all current indicators are to be relied on, the ole mas will continue in politics.

The Electoral College will meet to choose a new president, at a time when there are serious questions about both the purpose of that office as well as the process by which the post-holder is chosen. The divisiveness of our politics is such that the matter is likely to be highly politicised, which would be a shame. This is a post that should be the subject of sober deliberation, not tit-for-tat games. The decision of President Anthony Carmona to appoint a new chairman to the Integrity Commission on the eve of demitting office is likely to also have a ricochet effect. A new president may mean a new commission if only as a matter of formality. The new president could play a role in developments relating to Chief Justice Ivor Archie. The new year could well see, for the second time in our country’s history, moves initiated to install a new head of the Judiciary.

The matter of the identity of the Chief Justice has profound implications. The Chief Justice — through the Judicial and Legal Service Commission — plays a role in the appointment of key figures such as the Chief Magistrate and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Whether or not there is a new chief justice there will most certainly have to be a replacement for Marcia Ayers-Caesar.

Elsewhere within the criminal justice system, big changes are also in store. Starting with the top. The new year brings the prospect of the appointment of a new police commissioner, provided the Police Service Commission is able to complete the process and provided the chosen candidate is not vetoed by the Government. The leadership of the Police Service Commission is also due for transition. The tenure of current chairman Dr Maria Therese Gomes is due to come to an end. It will do so amid a history of tension between her and the Executive over botched legislative reform, which was later partially invalidated in court and which has contributed to some of the delay in finding a top cop. Will there be an improvement in crime detection and crime rates? What direction will our economy take? None of this considers other cultural and sporting events. The new year will see the Commonwealth Games in Australia — where our sports women and men can make a splash — as well as the World Cup, where we will be on the sidelines looking on with eager interest.

Two thousand and eighteen is already shaping up to be unforgettable.


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