Ye who en­ter here, be­ware!

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Opinion -

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.

Fake news

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.

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