Ye who enter here, beware!
Dear Your Honour Sir CCJ,
Ever mindful of the terrible and absolute power of an institution against whose rulings there is no appeal, I crave your indulgence to frankly discuss your performance as it has affected my beloved country.
Shiv Viswanathan writes: “Dissent is the custodian of difference, giving voice to minorities and people on the margins. Dissent today is one of the most critical acts of democracy.” If you believe in democracy, hear me out.
First off, clarity in the drafting of laws leaves much to be desired. Given that judges are similarly trained, how can it be that, on the same evidence, a Lower Court can rule in one direction, a High Court in another, and a Court of Appeal change things again? Doesn’t this suggest that laws are open to subjective interpretation? As is patently borne out in the United States where rulings are apparently linked to the political affiliation of judges?
Secondly, Jesus taught us: “The law was made for man, not man for the law.” A law, in my opinion, should have an intent or purpose to achieve a particular end. This intent should override any obfuscation, unintentional or deliberate. In such situations, should not judges pay more regard to the intent rather than the letter of the law?
I have heard learned attorneys comment that CCJ interpretations of say, the Treaty of Shaggyramus “took everyone by surprise”. Should this happen? Did the CCJ judges seek to find out if details of the Treaty were understood by the signing politicians? Were alcoholic drinks available at the conference? (We note that our lawmakers have such beverages on tap.) And were citizens in the affected countries told what was being signed on to on their behalf?
Without questioning CCJ rulings, here, in my opinion, is how some of them impacted on Barbados: The Tim Walsh ruling robbed Barbados of one of the most dedicated, hard-working, enterprising farmers ever to grace these shores.
Rock Hard was instrumental in getting cement prices reduced to a fraction of what we were previously charged. Will judgment against them change this? The mandatory death penalty relieved judges of taking responsibility for sentencing murderers to hang. The closer we get to abolishing it, the more mayhem and killings we are seeing every day.
Case in point, following shootings at North Stars, fake news has it that in future cricket umpires there will be stationed off field in armoured cars using drones to monitor the action. On field cricketers must wear bulletproof vests and Neymar is being recruited to train them to fall at every explosion. Defence Force personnel will run up and hand the ball to the bowler. St Lucy residents cower in fear. This is where kowtowing to wishy-washy human “rights” conventions has brought us.
Now to the Jamaican woman who described Barbados as a country of “board houses and zinc fences”. I would have her know a new salon just opened here – Bert’s Barbery. A fellow named “Nisnis” got an $800 million haircut from Bert. “Buymap” who, I believe, sells school atlases, got one for $1.1 million. Pensioners, hit for over $100 000. Let Jamaica match that.
But her problem involved a “cavity” search. I object to describing any part of a woman as a “cavity” (why not “jacuzzi” or “gazebo”?) but must use the legal term. Female visitors here are only so searched if there is “reasonable suspicion” (usually tip-offs from their own country) that they are carrying contraband in their “cavities”. So, tell me, in such situations what alternative do we have but to search the aforementioned receptacles?
And for that, Barbados was heavily fined, pilloried and must now see prostitutes and strippers walk in here on six-month stays?
By the way, Mr CCJ, are you warning countries yet to sign on that they won’t be able to leave in under eight years, something never demanded by the white Privy Council?
Our final humiliation: foreign judges in a Port-of-spain court demanded (with threats of jailing our Chief Electoral Officer; can’t recall our former British court ever being that intrusive) that several non-barbadians in our midst must be allowed to participate in choosing our Government. Thereby denying us even that most basic aspect of our Independence.