.March 12, 2001 By Keith Smith
Trinidad and Tobago Today

Archie buck dem up

"DEY mus’ be real desperate,” I thought to myself when I heard what Mr Maharaj had said about Mr Archie, in particular, and Mr Panday about the judiciary, in general.

What kittens they must both having as they contemplate a judicial negation of Bill and Gypsy’s election victories, the language coming from them telling me that already they know the fight to have been lost but are determined to go down wailing and flailing.

Before now, of course, the UNC’s, that is to say the ruling administration’s strategy has clearly been to achieve delay more than anything else, it being writ large on the horizon that the Careless Two were going to cost the government not only two seats but the very government.

How Mr Panday and Mr Maharaj and whomsoever else must be steupsing and fretting in the privacy of their minds, harassed and harried by the thought that the election victory which have the wrought is about to be overturned by colossal carelessness both on the part of the principals themselves and the party they parrot they are so proud to serve.

What convolutions, certain that their chances of an electoral repeat have been niftily narrowed by, among other things, the very stances they have been forced to adopt because of the untenability of their legal position, are they now undergoing, each new course chosen carrying them closer to their undoing.

How head-hurtingly must the party’s mandarins now hear the political bells tolling, all these men come to office both now and before certain that they richer and therefore bound to be smarter than anybody else and now, look, jest so, out of the blue, out of nowhere comes this dual citizenship thing:

“ Bas, boy, look, is like cus’ we cus’!”

Look back at it. At every new stage, with each breaking issue, the administration finds itself more and more with its back against the wall so see here we are arrived at “Archie” and huge sections of the country are vocally against them, the peril in which the ruling party now finds itself nowhere more evidenced than in the rising up of the lawyers against the AG, the Criminal Bar, even as we speak, pushing fire at the Bar Association, Karl, its president having to choose between his sense of his own hubris and the high principles that is the profession’s propensity to, at least, espouse.

How, I ask you, could Mr Maharaj have believed even in the privacy of his own mind that Justice Archie’s failure to get a high house would put him on such a high horse that even as the country and the region looked carefully on, he would revenge himself by reneging on his oath, giving the government a six for a nine because them fellers ent gie me wha’ is mine.

How, going back to where we were earlier, could Mr Maharaj, in the particular and Mr Panday, in the general, not have been aware that the heat over Mayaro and Pointe-a-Pierre was going to so cook their electoral goose that all their shuntings and shiftings would be, and be seen as, just so much smoke?

And since they must have known, having, hopefully, been privately so advised here before us they have, having already been clutching at straws, resorted to a kind of vocal bludgeoning desperate enough in its nakedness to move a partisan to pity had he not, instead, been moved to anger at the way these men would trample on any and everything and worse, much worse than that, the better to secure their own political, financial and egotistical interests.

I cannot see how in time the “Archie” issue would not be seen at a turning point, a watershed in the drowning of this the rowdiest of all our regimes, Mr Maharaj’s own legal family noisily turning against him, the business class pulling away in horror (read the anguished language of their condemnation!) and as for the decisive proletariat, well, they now, if they had never known it before, the nature of ageing lion and his malicious cub, whatever the self-interests they think they now serve coming up hard against the disintegrating face they see.

I am reminded because of the accident of the judge’s name and the way that name is ever-so-suddenly, and at AG’s instigation at that, on people’s lips of an Antiguan calypso that swept through here many years ago. “Archie Buck Dem Up” it was and it hit this country like a hurricane.

Here now “Archie,” not so much in the judge himself but in what the issue on which he sat and the issues issuing from it represents, has hurled T&T to an even more troubling and trouble-some threshold. More so, mark you, for the would-be UNC stars as they and we discover how little they know of the ABC’s of administration.

Justice Ivor Archie's Judgement

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