Perspective: Discrimination Against Hawaiian Nurse, Distasteful & Shameful …

Jury Awarded US$3.8 Million To Dr.  Ellen Harris … Whistleblower … Appropriate  …

My blood boiled over in anger as I read the Vision Newspaper post of a woman of colour who left Mississippi, USA, to face hate and bigotry in Hawaii, a US protectorate. This woman improved herself to the level of a PHD yet she was not respected. What more do we people of colour have to do to be respected? She was represented by Lawyer Varady, in Honolulu.


Let us emancipate our thinking from the motion that racism is accidental. Not so,  it is for too many … a real low down perception of people of colour.  Racism will always be “an affront to decency”. There is no second class citizens, just low level thinking bigots.  Misguided individuals who cannot accept that people of colour have a right to be treated with dignity. People of colour are as good as or better equipped intellectually than any other race. Some who are Klan minded need to wise up, wake up and get educated  so they will be mentally equipped to abolish hate.


To have seen a depiction/image of noose on your locker must be mentally distressing coupled with other designations including the “N” word.  No one should have to face such indignity.

Jury Trial

Having served as the member and Foreman of at least two panels of Jury I can attest to the good work juries can do.  They are not perfect … yes they can be bribed, they can get it wrong, they can collude to corrupt the integrity of the system etc. Not withstanding that there is still value in trial by your peers.   Statistics presented in the Senate recently point to 40 percent conviction rate in jury trials, when compared to 20 percent for judge only trials.

Abolition of Jury Trials

There is a growing trend to opt for judge alone trials.  Proponents argue among other things that juries may not be intellectually equipped to handle complex cases. Do not underestimate the intellectual acumen of ordinary people when empaneled as jurors.


A recent decision to enact legislation abolishing jury trials for “Trafficking In Persons” is a prime example.  The pro side (for abolition) claim cost as a factor.  This is a backward step in my perspective.  We will see the results.

My friend Lincoln Tomlinson, a past president  BSA, always tells members of the internationally acclaimed Brotherhood Of St. Andrew (BSA), a church men’s organization which is over 100 years old that “No single one of us has more knowledge than the sum total of all of us”  This deep piece of thought has stuck with me for many years and I plan to take it with me to my grave. Enough said!


Personnel departments/managers should show more sensitivity to ensure that complaints of racism are treated with seriousness and urgency. They should endeavor to create safe bigotry free work environments for all. This applies to sexual harassment also.  Incidentally, my friend Lincoln Tomlinson is a retired former personnel manager with an internationally known bauxite aluminum firm located in Central Jamaica W.I.

Let us hail the woman Ellen Harris for making a difference and the Jury for their professionalism. Good for them!
An award of US$3.8 million is not chicken feed as some may wish to say … it is a decent pay packet.

“Racism will always be an affront to decency” Vision’s SIC.

The discrimination experienced by Dr. Ellen Harris is shameful and distasteful. This is our perspective. What is yours?. Feel free to disagree. Will you?

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *