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Ramesh Human Rights Bureau?

May 24, 2001
By Shelagh Simmons

Dear Editor,
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has said he used the money he was awarded in damages following his 1975 jailing for contempt of court not for himself but to set up the Trinidad and Tobago human rights bureau for the benefit of all.

Very commendable, to be sure. How regrettable then that instead of building on what he had achieved, he chose to undermine his own good work. He systematically attacked international human rights structures which were of great benefit to the people of T&T too. But he did not stop there. He actually withdrew from them, thus depriving everyone in the country of international redress for any human rights violations they suffer.

Mr Maharaj also reportedly forgives and loves anyone who has said anything wrong about him. Again, very commendable. But surely he is missing the point. A greater test of character is not to love and forgive anyone who has said anything "wrong" about you but anything which, while you may not like it, is actually RIGHT. Judging by the numbers who have lambasted him over a variety of issues including the death penalty and the damage he has done to the people's international human rights protection, this would be a far more significant and magnanimous act!

And, of course, another good measure of character is whether a person stands by his or her principles, regardless of political or any other cost.

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