Posted by Ping Pong as a comment to BU blog – National Insurance Board Responds To Public Concern
In the last week, newspapers report that the government has made two assaults on the concept of the citizen’s right to property. The first assault was the attempt to pass the Antiquities Bill and the second, the declaration to compulsory acquire the land of one person so as to benefit another citizen.
The situation with the Antiquities Bill is extremely disturbing. The Senate raised many cogent questions about the bill which were accepted by the Government senators. It strikes me odd that Minister Lashley, who is an attorney, could not recognise the constitutional issues raised by Senator Newton and neither could any of the other 29 MP’s (i.e.both BLP and DLP) when the bill was passed in the lower house. That the bill (in identical form) was first presented by the previous BLP administration is testimony to the lack of any philosophical mooring by BOTH political parties to defend and act in accordance with the Constitution or any other publicly stated set of values in the interest of the common good other than expediency, appeal to the lowest denominator and laziness.
To reinforce my disquiet, today’s newspapers report that the Government intends to compulsory acquire part of the property of one individual to make available to another private interest. This is an unsettling use of the State’s power to compulsory acquire property. To my knowledge, such power has been exercised to the direct benefit of the public i.e to allow the building of a school, heath centre, police station, roads, public housing etc. That this power is now to be exercised to the benefit of a privately operated company is a most curious development.
However, laudable the intentions, the words “thin edge of the wedge” comes to mind.