Government Urged to Heed the Advice of Independent Senators on the Bill to Amend the Police Act
Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement
The Parliament of Barbados is on the verge of enacting into Law an amended Police Act that will confer upon the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police enormous power to forcibly cordon off areas of Barbados; to impose curfews in our country; to confine people to their homes; to physically search persons; to carry out Police searches of homes and motor-vehicles; and to OBLIGE citizens of Barbados (in communities subjected to a curfew or a cordon) to subject themselves to interrogation by Police officers, AND THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF BARBADOS HAVE NO IDEA WHATSOEVER THAT SUCH A LAW IS ABOUT TO BE MADE AND IMPOSED ON THEM!
Indeed, the people who brought this Bill to Parliament– Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and the other members of the Democratic Labour Party administration — made no effort whatsoever to inform the BARBADIAN PEOPLE about this Bill nor to permit them any opportunity to consider and discuss it. In other words, there was no CONSULTATION with the people of Barbados!
So, once again, this Democratic Labour Party administration is using secrecy and stealth to impose new potentially draconian measures on the Barbadian people !
(The last time they attempted to do so was with the Immigration (Biometrics) Regulations. With absolutely no advance warning or consultation, the DLP government simply announced that they had enacted Regulations that obliged Barbadians to be fingerprinted every time they traveled from or returned to their own country. Thankfully, the Supreme Court of Barbados ruled that those Regulations were unconstitutional and struck them down !)
So far as this Bill to amend the Police Act is concerned, it should be noted that at the sitting of the Senate that was held on Wednesday 31st January 2018, a number of Independent and Opposition Senators decried the lack of public consultation and called upon the Freundel Stuart Administration NOT to proceed with the current effort to enact the Bill, and instead, to make arrangements to bring the Bill to the attention of the Barbadian people and to have a proper national consultation.
The Senators who made this very responsible and enlightened CALL included Sir Roy Trotman, Sir Henry Fraser, Senator John Watson, and Senator Wilfred Abraham.
The Clement Payne Movement hereby publicly endorses and supports the CALL made by the Independent and Opposition Senators of Barbados!
We also hereby publicly urge the PEOPLE OF BARBADOS and their various civil society organizations to raise their voices as well and insist upon a process of national consultation in relation to this extremely controversial Bill.
In particular, we CALL upon the Bar Association, the Trade Unions, the Churches, and the representative Youth organizations of Barbados to speak out loudly on this issue and to support the Senators’ CALL.