Time for the Governor General to Take Action
AS BARBADOS remains in a state of governmental stasis and political limbo, yet another national facility / institution has broken down — the Supreme Court and Registry of Barbados.
Our broken down Supreme Court and Registry joins a long list of national facilities and institutions that have “broken down” in one way or another over the ten year reign of the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration :- our National Stadium, the South Coast Sewage system, the state of repair of our national road network, our Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Cave Hill Campus of UWI, our Sanitation Service Authority, our Barbados Water Authority, the image and morale of our Royal Barbados Police Force, and the depressing list goes on and on.
And, of course, towering over and above these institutional and sectoral “break downs” is the break down of the national economy of Barbados itself, with the international rating agencies inflicting some 23 downgrades on the measure of our nation’s international credit-worthiness.
Ordinarily, in a situation such as this, we Barbadians would look to our country’s Parliament — our House of Assembly and Senate — for some discussion, clarification, and rectification of this recent and additional manifestation of national “break down”, but for the past six weeks or so our nation has NOT had a Parliament!
Section 48 of our nation’s Constitution tells us that Parliament is the institution that has the responsibility to make laws for the good government of Barbados. But the political administration that is currently reigning over our country determined that they would permit our Parliament to be dissolved, and that they would subject us to a prolonged period in which our country would be devoid of a national Parliament .
It is — to say the least — unconscionable for the Freundel Stuart administration to throw Barbados into this state of governmental stasis and political limbo : and it may very well be un-constitutional as well.
Section 62 (1) of our national Constitution tells us very plainly that “after every dissolution of Parliament the Governor- General shall issue writs for a general election of members of the House of Assembly returnable within ninety days from the dissolution”. Well, the Parliament of Barbados was dissolved as long ago as the 6th of March 2018 !
Section 32 (1) (b) of the Constitution also tells us that our Governor-General does NOT have to wait upon or to be advised by the Cabinet or the Prime Minister in relation to “any function which is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by (her) in (her) discretion.”
A plain and literal reading of Section 62 (1) of the Constitution suggests that this duty of our Governor-General to set the date for a General Election is a duty that is exercisable by her in her own discretion.
What — therefore — is Governor-General Sandra Mason waiting for?
Is it that she has some doubt as to whether the wording of Section 62 (1) of the Constitution gives her the right to exercise her own discretion in this matter of setting a General Election date?
And if indeed she has some doubt, wouldn’t the correct course of action be to approach the Supreme Court for an interpretative declaration on the issue ?
What is currently happening in (and to) Barbados is just not good enough !
It is time for us to break out of this depressing state of governmental stasis and political limbo !
We Barbadians need to raise our voices and insist that our Governor-General bestir herself and take action either to set an election date or to seek clarification from the Supreme Court.