President Anthony Carmona has lamented this country’s 62 killings in one month as “highly untenable and unsatisfactory” and urged an arrest of social decline by the use of restorative justice where offenders are rehabilitated and reconciled with their victims and the community.
He made this point on Tuesday at President’s House, St Ann’s as he swore in the country’s first-ever Sentencing Commission, a body created by the Sentencing Commission Act 2000, to monitor the consistency of sentences passed by judges, to lodge an annual report and to make recommendations.
The Commission members are attorney Gregory Delzin, gender expert Dr Gabrielle Hosein, psychiatric social worker Lionel Remy, former inspector of prisons Daniel Khan and business consultant Joanne Murray-Charles, with two more unnamed members to be sworn in at a later date.
Carmona recalled his own “Bail Boys Project” seeking to empower and reintegrate into society young offenders from the “labyrinth of Remand Yard.”
He said, “The Man-Child is in crisis in TT.
The old tired systems are simply not working.”
Recalling the mental deterioration of suspects held for up to nine years before trial before him as a then judge, Carmona said he has long been an advocate of restorative justice and now expected the commission to note international benchmarks so as to ameliorate TT’s system of criminal justice.
“It grieves my heart to read of the slaughter on our streets.” He lamented the unjustified public outcry in past rulings where judges had in fact acted properly by a sentence of restorative justice, leniency and deterrence, and said the public must be educated that sentencing goes beyond just incarceration.
Afterwards, Delzin said the body’s role is to engage all stakeholders to ensure some degree of parity and fairness in sentencing.