The former (that is, the last but one) Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Basdeo Panday, has been sentenced to serve at least 2 years for corruption, specifically for failing to report a bank account in the UK, while he was Prime Minister.
The judge also ordered the contents of the bank account to be confiscated as a penalty for non-declaration.
This one will go back to the Privy Council.
While it is terrible for a man of Mr. Panday's age to be facing prison time, his offence seems to be the common or garden corrupt practice of which many politicians in the Caribbean, and the region, have been accused, if not convicted…
Would the Caribbean Court of Appeal have saved him ? Maybe.
Will the Privy Council save at least his reputation ? That doesn't seem likely, given that his defense was the pathetic "it was really my wife's…."
Ethnic Indians in Trinidad may feel that this is an attack on them by the "black" Government, but perhaps Mr. Panday will have the distinction of ushering in a new era for the region, where corruption is "fought" by trials, convictions and harsh sentences, instead of by rhetoric (which, after all, is what we are used to…..)
Rhetoric hasn't worked all that well, but I don't know if Trinidad, much less Jamaica, is quite ready for an impartial administration of justice. Who's next ? P J Patterson?
[posted with ecto]