Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere
We may have just learnt what is behind the police raid on Ewart Brown's two businesses. Without this recent revelation, the raids seemed “over the top” and potential harassment.
Sadly, from a spectator position there would have been some who, like the old days of the Roman Colosseum and the gladiators, will be jeering the police and roaring “get him”. Meanwhile, there will be others who will see the raids as their hero braving another attempt by the enemy.
Quite aside from the legalities of this matter is the irony of a former leader of the country who presided over a period that had its own turn at the handle of repression and who is now complaining about it. We all extol the idea of a just and fair government committed to justice to all. The beleaguered black population, in particular, has an innate yearning to see liberty and have an equal detestation for oppression.
Yet it would be an oversimplification of facts to look at oppression in Bermuda as solely at the hands of the old establishment. I cannot support that assumption; nor can far too many persons, who like me have seen and felt the brunt of victimisation by successive governments.
I can attest to maltreatment at the hands of three successive governments, beginning with the United Bermuda Party. This is not just a tale of two cities; they all look the same, for repressive governments do not have a colour. The only difference between them is who controls the narrative.
Dr Brown held the highest political office in the land and was already a popular activist spanning back to the black power days. He enjoys a constituency of persons loyal to a legacy of that struggle. Moves against him will not go unnoticed and will automatically trigger sentiments on both sides of the divide.
Far beneath the radar there are other atrocities that have been perpetrated by all three administrations that are at least as, if not more than, consequential as actions against him. Including his own while he was the leader. These surreptitious deeds inflicted by partisan political agendas are veiled under bureaucracies and the lack of robust and diverse investigative media within a legal framework that supports only those with power and resource.
Just like the dual characteristics of the very popular late Julian Hall, who could be both hailed and applauded on one hand and lambasted by the other. Dr Brown has a coat-tail very similar and you will not need to look too far to find many of his own black men, particularly businessmen and trade professionals, walking the streets damaged with tales of victimisation flowing from his government's administration.
Notwithstanding that, injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, so an injustice to him is unwarranted.
We need an open and transparent society. Our legal structure, including the Office of Ombudsman, needs a serious review. It is deplorable when a government can use its billion-dollar budget to target and to suppress the rights of an ordinary citizen, let alone persons such as Dr Brown, who perhaps can withstand the strain of litigation.
Governments damage individuals, then win legal battles more through attrition than merit. The present example of $2.5 million already spent on an investigation, and unknown additional amounts on court expenses, is a significant undertaking by any government. But that is what they all do.
The amount spent by the OBA when rationalised is probably equal to that spent or caused by the Progressive Labour Party. With an appreciation, we may argue the merits of their spending because there may not be a moral equivalency.
The sad victims too often are those near-penniless individuals who are trampled upon, destroyed and forgotten; persons whose lives and families are destroyed because they were perceived as being on the wrong side of the political divide — or simply could not be used.
Dr Brown does not fit that profile by a long shot, particularly when equated with the many soldiers of the struggle who sacrificed all with no earthly reward. The good doctor can leave office and boast of financial success.
There are a couple of old sayings such as “you reap what you sow” or “every dog has its day”. My 100-year-old great-aunt once told me they would say things such as that when she was young, but she hasn't seen them get it.
While I'm sure they do get it, I don't think the cosmos operates merely to satisfy our vanity or desire for revenge. Nor do I believe those who inflict injustice even through ignorance will outlive truth and justice. I have seen the hand of justice yank at persons and institutions, I therefore have no doubt that the wheel of justice will prevail. I cannot escape it and therefore my advice to all is to seek the higher road of fairness in all affairs.
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