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Raymond Sheppard: May these lengthy injustices finally be resolved

Raymond Sheppard. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – It is my hope that the following lengthy instances of injustice don’t continue for much longer into this new year. 

Shawn Wade Hynes was found guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon in Pictou Provincial Court on Sept. 26, 2019. Hynes was charged after his co-worker, Nhlanhla Dlamini (NH), an African youth was shot in the back with a high velocity nail gun on September 19, 2018, at a worksite in Abercrombie. The sentencing for this convicted individual has been postponed again and again and once again the painful impact to the African Nova Scotian community continues. Hopefully Shawn Wade Hynes gets the maximum time behind bars.  

Mr. Bill E.Greenlaw of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage approved community transit on December 12, 2019, for the African Nova Scotian communities of Lincolnville, Sunnyville and Upper Big Tracadie, at least in principle. However, during 2020 nothing was done although 2020 saw a greater need for community transit in the above communities. The wish here is that the powers that be honour their commitment.

The Desmond Inquiry into the murder-suicide of Lionel Desmond was delayed again and again in 2020. The Nova Scotia government promised the inquiry in December 2017, almost a year after Lionel Desmond fatally shot his mother Brenda, wife Shanna and 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, before turning the gun on himself. 

The 33-year-old soldier had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after two tours in Afghanistan in 2007. This inquiry could of and should have been concluded by now. The last postponement was said to be due to the pandemic and the need for a larger space. Hopefully during 2021, this inquiry will be concluded and a Stop put to the prolonged Pain and Suffering of the Desmond and Borden Families. The Justice Department says that they have chosen Port Hawkesbury as a new sitting, where there is more room to accommodate physical distancing protocols.

Many, many African Nova Scotians endured racism and indifference by the criminal injustice system in Nova Scotia during 2020 and long before. Some of the surnames of these individuals include Beals, Fraser, Tynes, Jones, Carvery, Desmond, Borden, Jackson, Reddick, Medley, Smith, Williams, Brown, Parsons, Dorrington, Johnson, Bundy, Simmonds, Bundy and MacLean, etc. It should be noted that many of the above individuals also filed human rights complaints, to no avail. 

I wish all law schools in Canada, including the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie would study the topic of anti-Black racism. This would allow graduates a better understanding of these negative practices and the impact it has on people of African descent.  I also wish that there was a psychological test to identify bias for all those connected with the criminal justice system in Canada.

All African Nova Scotians, allies and Persons of Colour must continue to challenge this privileged injustice system in order to make a lasting difference for all people.

Happy New Year again, from Raymond Sheppard.

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