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FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Who can you trust?


Dr Frances Chandler, [email protected]

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: Who can you trust?

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TRUST HAS BEEN DEFINED as “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing; confidence”. But whom can we trust nowadays? 

Can we trust the politicians? Apparently not, based on the daily complaints of broken promises to the electorate. Their pre- and post-election words just don’t agree.

Every day there’s an erosion of trust resulting from media reports of offences committed by those who should in fact represent the epitome of trust.

There’s crime everywhere, which is really worrying, but it’s even more worrying when it comes from those we would least expect to break the law and who in fact should be protecting us from crime.

Can we trust the lawyers who would be expected to uphold the law? Apparently not. Rather than uphold the law, a growing number seem to use their legal knowledge to find loopholes so as to perpetrate their own brand of crime – usually the misuse or withholding of clients’ funds.

Well, at least one lawyer has been disbarred for such misconduct, but what about all the others whose offences have been publicised over the years, and some of whom seem to continue committing the same offence? What has been their fate?

Justice

Then there’s the politician who is also a lawyer. Lord have mercy! Beware of them, for justice may be long in coming. Even though the Right Excellent Errol Barrow was both a lawyer and a politician, didn’t he declare: “My advice to the people of Barbados is if you want justice, stay out of the law courts altogether . . . . Law courts are not the right place to be if you have any self respect . . . .”.

Cases of friends betraying each other’s trust aren’t new, but friends who are lawyers can be even more dangerous, as was demonstrated in a recent case where a lawyer allegedly withheld his friend’s funds for 14 years, turning it over only when ordered to do so by the court.

But while the older generation tend to be “accepting”, many young people question why lawyers are needed for such transactions as a house or land sale and not for a vehicle sale, when the value of a vehicle can sometimes exceed that of a house or land. I suppose it’s a matter of title searches and so on, but isn’t this also necessary to ensure that a vendor is the legitimate owner of a vehicle and there are no liens on it? Furthermore, I’ve always maintained that laws need to be in simple language which a layman can understand: language which has only one interpretation so that there would be no need for a lawyer to be paid $700 000 for an opinion as we recently read in the media.

The police force? I was always told, if you have a problem in your home, call your relatives first, then the police. The now frequent news reports of crimes committed by police officers would seem to bear this out. Not only do some seem to break the law, but are also unprofessional. A radio caller recently alleged that while investigating a crime at his house, a police officer had propositioned his wife. The fact that she refused his advances didn’t stop him from continuing his pursuit via telephone a few days later.

Security guards? Instead of protecting property, judging from the court pages in newspapers, they’re often involved in theft from said property. There was also the security guard who allegedly watched a customer withdrawing money from a bank machine, memorised the customer’s pin number, retrieved the card which the customer forgot in the machine and withdrew funds.

Is it that more careful screening needs to be done with these professions, or is it that our society has just become rotten to the core?

Of course there are reports of church leaders abusing children and/or misusing church funds, and increasing reports of parents leading children into prostitution.

All betrayals of trust.

So it seems that all we can do now is to follow the teaching of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord thy God with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.” And remember: “When you get to your wit’s end, you’ll find God lives there.” (Anonymous)

• Dr Frances Chandler is a former independent senator. Email [email protected]

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