THE EDITOR: Good government is more than the use of sovereign power to create prosperity, productivity and happiness.
Good governance is the imaginative use of intuition, skills and knowledge to administrate with the participation and consent of the governed.
Human rights is a mechanism to win consent of all people being governed because it ensures fairness and respect for everyone.
When the US constitution states that all men are created equal although the whites had black slaves and the wealthy lived better than the poor whites, it was to create the circumstances that we are all in the same boat. We will all sink or all float.
Everyone knows that some people are smarter, taller, richer and more athletic than others. So when the term equality is used it is a methphor for a common destiny.
The same is true for the French Revolution in 1789. Liberty, equality and fraternity were to inspire unity and that everyone has a stake in the sucess of the revolution – common destiny.
Human rights are moral principles that set standards for human conduct. In 1948 the UN General Assembly issued the Declartion of Human Rights as a response to the barbarism of World War 2.
Many politicians and law enforcement officials find that respecting people’s human rights makes their job difficult. Remove people’s human rights and you signal to them and their associates that they do not have a stake in our society.
This is not mere philosophy but reality. Examine genocide in Rwanda, in the Guatemala Civil War, in the El Salvador Civil War and, I will argue, in the high homicide rate of the Caribbean, including TT.
The vast majority of people commiting homicides are marginalised. They will destroy the society with ease because they feel they are not benifitting adequately from the current political and social order. Why obey laws that are not benifitting them?
Apparently they do not have a right to an education, job and to be free from discrimination. They are treated less than others by many including law enforcement officials and the opportunity and support for social mobility is tiny.
Human rights guarantee people the means to satisfy their basic needs.You either obey people’s human rights or move towards disunity and conflict. Any analysis of history demonstates that.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
BRIAN E PLUMMER