It's Glorious Saturday and I hope Cheryl Miller is happy with yesterday's outcome and that it is really to her benefit. The country has been on fire all week in several ways, but the most important issue has been Cheryl Miller. A woman whose story affected many because it hit home just how vulnerable we are to the whims and fancy of any state body that wishes to abuse its power. The ease with which Cheryl Miller was locked up, the ease with which her family were denied their right to their own kin, the ease with which the authorities justified their actions and the ease with which they are now twisting the story away from their abuse of rights and inability to follow protocol and instead making it about whether Cheryl Miller is mentally ill or not is not just disgusting, it is downright scary.
Let's recap. The story as it went reported an outburst in Miller's office between her and a senior member of management. After the outburst Miller was advised b a co-worker to go and write a letter of apology. In the midst of writing that letter of apology, Miller was visited by personnel from the St. Ann's hospital who "coerced" her (Fuad Khan's words) to go with them to the mental institution. It turns out that while Miller was writing her letter, the PS of her ministry called her contacts in the Ministry of Health and it was this ministry that sent the call out to St. Ann's. According to the mental health act, a person being committed involuntarily must have prior certification and certain protocols must be followed. The state failed to fulfil their part in its entirety. Yesterday the Psychiatrist's Association of Trinidad and Tobago came out and defended the procedure, saying that due process was followed. Today's story in the Express belies that press release and one wonders if the Psych Association isn't involved in politicking as well, especially since the purpose of their press release wasn't to advise the public on proper protocol but to take the media and a government minister to task.....raised eyebrows much?????
So, Cheryl got sent home yesterday evening following her court date. She was represented by two lawyers, who are also PNM MPs: Fitzgerald Hinds and Faris Al Rawi. The court date, as you well know, came in the aftermath of PSA Union Head Witless....sorry...Watson Duke filing a writ of habeas corpus. The cries have been consistent that Duke and the PNM are playing politics and using Miller for political mileage....that may well be the case...it certainly smells like it...but the UNC aint backward either. Already in some circles it is being whispered that Miller's commitment to St. Ann's has a political slant to it....and in a desperate show at defending the choices made by his Ministry Fuad Khan has come out making statements that can only be described as tasteless, judgemental and dangerous. Perhaps Khan is aware of the amount of anti-government sentiment that Miller's predicament has created in the society and this is his form of damage control....but homeboy, you don't go accusing people of politicking and then do the same thing yourself....going to the extent of implying in your comments what the State's diagnosis of Miller is....In your comments Fuad, you imply that Miller has a serious condition. You indicate that she is an "ill patient", but don't reveal the diagnosis...you say too that she can look normal and and be triggered by a negative reaction, you imply by your comments that she has a personality disorder......
Your comments, in my opinion have totally violated Miller's privacy, because you have subtly brought up details of her diagnosis, without naming the specific condition leaving the public to speculate as to her mental state. You've now put more fodder out there, and diverted the public away from the REAL ISSUE...which is not Miller's mental state, but DID THE STATE ABUSE MILLER"S RIGHTS BY NOT FOLLOWING PROPER PROCEDURE!
Don't let Fuad's politicking distract you folks....this matter was never about Miller's mental health...it was about whether the state had abused its power in dealing with a public servant.
Imagine you are in your office one day and have an outburst. What the Perm Sec at Gender Affairs, the people at the Min of Health and the people at St. Anns have shown is that they will flout the rules as laid out in the Mental Health Act to commit you....in short, your rights as a citizen here will be abused.
Read the comments of the last paragraph of that story where the article points out that standard protocol was not followed and Fuad brushes this aside to say there is more to the story....what could lead to the authorities abusing their power Fuad? Enlighten us.
We've grown accustomed to seeing state power being abused, under past regimes and even more so under this regime. The SoE is still fresh in the minds of many...and now comes the violation of Cheryl Miller....is this what Kamla means by people centred governance? Is this the sort of female-centric governance we should expect too?
In all of this the PM has remained characteristically silent.
COP, who last week was hot and horny for principled governance hasn't had a word to say....nor has TOP, MSJ or Makandal Daaga. Here it has come out, clear and plain for all to see that protocol was not followed, an individual's rights were abused and our leaders of Government are MUM....peas tin hitting people mouth in a rage these days, boy....is either that or
De Vice Cyah Done!