To the Courts!
It started in 2018 after the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) handed the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the third parties an unprecedented 30 to zero drubbing in the general election. Many still believe a constitutional crisis was averted when Bishop Joe Atherley crossed the floor and a Leader of the Opposition (LoO) was recognized to ensure the business of parliament as outlined in the Constitution was carried out.
Who would have thunk it?
Prime Minister Mottley called a snap general election 18 months early and repeated a 30 to love win on 19 January 2022. On this occasion, no sitting MP seems willing to follow in the Bishop’s footsteps. The President of the Republic is unwilling to exercise discretion to appoint 2 Opposition Senators. Prime Minister Mottley in her infinite wisdom magnanimously has started the process to amend the Barbados Constitution to allow for the appointment of the 2 Opposition Senators from the losing political party that garnered the most votes. If that party refuses the opportunity to appoint slides to the next losing party.
Here we are!
The news former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite filed a motion with the Court to rule on the legitimacy of the Senate should not surprise political pundits if one listened to the position of interim President of the DLP Steve Blackett. With the amendment to the Constitution proceeding in the parliament the DLP would eventually be forced into position of accepting the offer to appoint 2 Opposition Senators which would contradict the publicly stated position of the DLP represented by interim President Steve Blackett.
A couple interesting sidebar observations. The former AG Brathwaite is being represented by attorneys-at-law Garth Patterson and Michelle Russell. Last week Brasstacks talk show host Glyne Murray observed the lawyers keeping the most ‘noise’ in the Barbados space on the the constitutionality of parliament are of Jamaican lineage. In fairness to Russell and Patterson they have been residing in Barbados for a long time, however, the blogmaster understands Murray’s point given the large cohort of Barbadians lawyers educated with our tax dollars.
One of the reasons forwarded why Mottley called an early general election was to quell an uprising by a faction in the BLP. Is it reasonable to opine if a few BLP MPs are dissatisfied with Mottley’s leadership a golden opportunity now presents itself for the malcontents to express themselves by crossing the floor or sounding their voices?
The matter has gone the route of the Court and whatever the decision at first instance is will likely progress to the CCJ. What we have is a people suffering from economic fatigue, COVID-19 fatigue and you may add to the maladies, post election fatigue. Is this another opportunities to blame lawyers?
Former Brathwaite in his released stated in part that he felt “compelled to seek the intervention of the Courts to resolve this controversy, one that centres around issues of vital national importance, and goes to the root of our democracy.” The blogmaster notes the former AG has advised that the matter is being brought in his capacity as a private citizen. How convenient!
Why did this extract from Brathwaite’s statement pique the interest of the blogmaster? Under Brathwaite’s tenure as AG with responsibility for the judiciary, he left it in a worse condition than he found it. The political games that lawyer politicians play mean an already congested court system has to adjudicate a matter created by lawyers.