Constitutional Review Commission Established

The promised Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) was legally constituted today. Acting President of Barbados Reverend Jeffrey Gibson administered the oath in the absence of President Sandra Mason. Some will say it is better late then never. Prime Minister Mottley promised before the last general election that a review of the Barbados Constitution was high on the agenda should her political party be returned to office. The former government attracted criticism in some quarters by moving the country to a republic in November last year without substantive change to the Constitution.

The country awaits the opportunity to submit feedback to the CRC. We live in hope the opportunity will be grasped by ordinary Barbadians who have shown themselves to be increasingly apathetic and cynical to governance issues.

The blogmaster is disappointed the decision was not made for members of the CRC to come from a non political background. It is also unfortunate the calibre of some members appointed to the CRC do not command this blogmaster’s support. How ecstatic some of us would have been if Judge Jefferson Cumberbatch was seconded to the CRC.

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213 comments

  • Correction – you cavemen GET OFF on that! The bible proves how much you get off on that!

    Moslems, Jews, Christians, much of a muchness!

    History shows how much you get off on that!

    Misogyny, like racism, cannot be denied! You guys are fooling no-one with even half of a brain.

    Like

  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    Holding back the years
    Holding back the tears
    ‘Cause nothing here has grown
    I’ve wasted all my tears

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for holding the delicate strands of fate in my hands and carefully ironing out the creases in space and time. But, the politics of so called populism in this so called democracy does not contain any objectivity at all and is a much more a reflection of collective subjectivity. There is no performance review in this party of life where attendance is the only requirement.
    The pre-determinism mindset of Christian nut jobs waiting for the reincarnation of their messiah will not stop world war 3 or the end of the world.

    During my time-traveling phase I went back 9 months and determined the following data:
    – 4 babies are born every second
    – 250 babies a minute
    – 15,000 in an hour
    – 360,000 in a day
    – 2.5 million babies in a week

    If we went back to save the world every time there is not an extinction event, how many infants due would not have been conceived. I’ve seen entire social movement disappear. Changes in events will result in different babies.

    Scalp Dem (Dancehall Mix), Scalp Dem (Wu Tang Mix), Super Cat, Method Man

    Like

  • ‘No offence meant’
    Stories by Colville Mounsey colvillemounsey @nationnews.com
    There was no intention to slight or insult the Rastafarian community by their omission from the Constitutional Reform Commission.
    This was made clear by the chairman, former judge Christopher Blackman, who was responding to complaints yesterday from head of the Afrikan Heritage Foundation, Paul “Ras Simba” Rock. He charged that Rastas were yet again being marginalised, even as Barbados establishes its republican identity.
    ‘Slap in face’
    Rock said it was tantamount to a slap in the face to witness the Christians and Muslims represented on the just-established tenmember commission, but not Rastafarians. He contended that having already been “pushed one side” in the establishment of the medicinal marijuana sector, they now fear the same fate as the country reforms its supreme law.
    “We feel slighted once again in that Rastafari was not invited officially to sit at the table. We don’t mind the talk about ‘we will be contacting you during the consultations’ because the same thing was done under the medical cannabis agenda, and yet we were left out of that. Presently we still have the Government in court fighting for sacramental rights,” Rock told the Saturday Sun at the official launch of the commission yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
    “We are fighting constitutional rights in the court, yet we have been left out of the consultation on a new Constitution. I see every other facet of the society represented – the Christians, the Muslims, the business community, the disabled – yet we have been left out. Even at this eleventh hour we are saying that Rastafari should be included.”
    However, Blackman said while it was Government which selected the Constitutional Reform Commission, space was likely a factor. He pointed out that in keeping with previous commissions of this nature, ten people were selected.
    “The selection of the commission was done by Government, I was asked to serve, but I will say that to narrow it down to ten individuals is
    not that easy. However, I made it a point to ensure that the representatives of the Rastafarian community were invited to this launch. We will also be willing to sit down and meet with them wherever they wish to meet as we would be doing with every organisation and special interest group.”
    He added: “We are not talking about a town hall; we are meeting with them individually once we have laid out the mechanics. We are only just having our first working session. We have to name a deputy; there is a lot of work still to be done. I don’t know why they should feel slighted because they were invited specifically, they will be consulted and no insult was intended.”
    Clear message
    However, Rock insisted that their omission sends a clear message that Barbados as a republic is still guided by the precepts of its colonial past.
    “It is very indicative of how the Rastafarian society is viewed. I think the Government and the society is aware of the value of Rastafari and this cannot be denied. I think that the old colonial mindset that places Rastafari and Afrocentricity way down at the back is still very present. So for this to be happening and for Rastafari to be left out again shows that no matter what the Government says, they have no love and respect for Rastafari,” he said.

    Source: Nation

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  • AG: Constitution too important to be rushed
    Attorney General Dale Marshall is defending the time frame in starting the Constitution reform process, telling critics that a matter of such national significance should not be rushed.
    Delivering remarks at the official launch of the Constitutional Reform Commission at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre yesterday, he said the process was lengthy, complex and costly, and was now a case of measuring twice and cutting once.
    “In recent days, the Government has been criticised for taking too long to get on with the process of Constitution reform. Let me remind those commentators that the course of constitutional reform, properly done, is not something to be hastened and raced along. It is a lengthy and complex and costly process and the consultative process that the commission will take charge of is no small undertaking. In fact, the Forde Commission met 112 times in its life of 26 months,” said Marshall.
    Last Sunday, former Democratic Labour Party president Verla De Peiza took the ruling administration to task over delays in getting the process started. She said that since last September nothing had been heard from Government on reform of the Constitution.
    However, Marshall said Government had been methodical in getting this process off the ground, making sure that the best possible arrangements for the commission are put in place.
    No room for error
    “There simply can be no false steps. We have had to consider carefully such things as the manner in which the commission will be operating; how will it be able to capture the interest of the Barbadian public; how will we carry out the process of educating the Barbadian public on the various issues that are to be considered; how will we utilise the new platforms of communication in order to reach every possible Barbadian,” he said.
    “Our Prime Minister is on record as saying that we will be requiring the deepest possible consultation across every community and sector of Barbados and on every element of our Constitution, and that is exactly what will be done. But this is not the Barbados of the 1970s or the 1990s. What worked in those days will hardly capture the interest of the millennial Bajan – and, in large measure, it is the voice of the millennial Barbadian that will perhaps need to be most heard since this will be their Constitution.”

    Source: Nation

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  • What should be simple is an answer to my question, being ignored for the umpteenth time.

    You based your argument on bible passages. Your bible has been shown to have holes.

    So now you resort to legal reasonings.

    Whatever happened to all John has to know is the bible???????????????

    Look, I am done with this shite!

    You have no answer. You have been measured and found wanting. Take your crap to your toilet!

    Like

  • Another angle!!

    Like

  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    Who’s flaming who?
    Protests break out across AmeriKKKa
    White supremacist populist tripe tropes attracts John like flies on shit
    Republican misinformation on Fox News is like Nazi war propaganda

    Hip Hop Samples
    Grandma’s Hands was used in No Diggity

    Like

  • Senior lawyer outlines areas of concern
    By Maria Bradshaw
    mariabradshaw@nationnews.com
    Queen’s Counsel Garth Patterson wants the newly installed Constitutional Reform Committee to initiate public discourse on social and political areas of the Constitution.
    They include the right to vote, property rights, the uncertainty surrounding the capital punishment of hanging as well as the now topical abortion rights which Patterson said are serious social and political matters that require public feedback and a strengthening of the relevant laws.
    He has been writing extensively on Barbados’ new republic status since it became a reality last year.
    Following the announcement of the committee chaired by retired justice Christopher Blackman, Patterson outlined a number of areas to the Sunday Sun including the broadening and strengthening of anti-discrimination provisions to allow right of action against individuals and companies.
    “Currently the law only contemplates cause of action against the state. So that a private individual can discriminate against somebody based on their sexual preference or orientation and there is no cause of action available to them. So you want to broaden those remedies in The Constitution to allow private citizens to bring action against private individuals or companies,” he said, adding the law needs to go beyond the Employment Rights Act.
    In addition, Patterson wants to see the right to vote and the mechanism for voting entrenched and broadened.
    “The experience of the last election where tens of thousands of qualified voters were disenfranchised because of the inadequacy in the existing laws to respond to the exigent circumstances of the pandemic, that’s a situation that should never occur again,” he charged.
    He pointed out that The Constitution made provision for the law to guarantee a person’s right to vote “but the existing electoral laws are inadequate and my view is you should protect the right to vote in the same way you protect other fundamental rights”.
    Furthermore, in light of the two previous elections Patterson is calling for a revision of the constitutional provisions regarding the composition of Parliament.
    “There should be a mandatory representation in Parliament of persons who are not in support of the Government. In my view, you should never have a situation where you have no representation in the form of the voice of an opposition.”
    On the controversial issue of hanging, the attorney wants to see Barbados “use this opportunity to establish or strengthen policy on serious social-political matters, such as hanging, abortion rights and human rights. Put beyond doubt the State’s right to hang, if that is where the country is in relation to the offence of murder”.
    “Entrench the right to abortion, particularly in light of the recent experience in the US of the reversal of Roe v Wade, which stood as law for the last 50 years. Strengthen the protection of the fundamental right to property – the current law relating to compulsory acquisition of land permits the State to forcibly take Peter’s land and give it to Paul for private development and profit,” he noted, as he referenced the situation involving the acquisition of the Liquidation Centre on Bay Street, St Michael for a developer.
    “There was something fundamentally wrong with that,” he said.
    The Queen’s Counsel also had advice about the judiciary.
    “You want to deepen the constitutional mechanism relating to the security of tenure of judges to further insulate them from political interference. At the same time you want to strengthen your provision for holding judges accountable. Under the current law the Prime Minister plays a major role in decisions relating to the dismissal of judges and the hiring of judges and it seems to me you ought to create a bit more space between the political arm of government and the judiciary,” Patterson noted.
    He called for the current lacune with the presidency to be fixed.
    “If the president dies in the interim between the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of elections, there will be a constitutional crisis since there is no constitutional mechanism for the appointment of a new president in that scenario and that has spill-on consequences for convening Parliament and so on,” he pointed out.

    Source: Nation

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  • Reform and public engagement
    One of the criticisms of the republic transition was that they should have reformed the Constitution first. Objectors argued that the Government put the cart before the horse. Whatever fears critics had, they seem not to have manifested. And now the Government is ready to proceed with paving the long awaited road to constitutional reform.
    Speaking from the official launch of the constitutional reform committee, Attorney General Dale Marshall indicated that the plan is to consult with and educate the Barbadian populace as widely and deeply as is reasonably possible. This is good to hear because the most reasonable criticism of the republic transition was that the public was not properly engaged. Too many questions and misconceptions were allowed to hang in the air. Too little effort was put into getting buy-in and building the energy of the historic moment. And so, we lost much of the possible benefits which the transition may have had to national consciousness.
    These benefits can be regained somewhat if this constitutional reform process is done well. By done well, I mean that the public of Barbados is thoroughly stimulated to pay attention to, engage with and contribute to the process of constitutional reform. I mean more of the public than those who turned out for the last General Election. A democracy where much of the public’s attitude to politics and governance ranges from apathy to disgust and disengagement is the default position might not be a democracy for long, if it already isn’t.
    However, we have to acknowledge what a tremendous task it will be to stimulate the politically frigid.
    Those who for decades have had only numbness in their loins when faced with the naked dysfunction of our political culture will not be easily aroused.
    Congratulations to the Caribbean’s newest PM, Dickon Mitchell, who has pundits shocked with his rapid thrust into politics. To raise that kind of passion for political affairs outside of election season, the Barbadian Government will have to use courtship tactics similar to the kinds used to seduce voters to the polls.
    If only election campaign donors cared about raising political consciousness. If only international lender agencies cared enough to fund transformative education and culture. If only the political class and intellectual elites had an already well-established tradition and system for the consistent engagement and empowerment of the people. The road to constitutional reform
    would be so much easier to carve out and pave.
    Instead, the paving of the road must double as a process of constitutional reform, and the building of the Constitution and consciousness of the electorate.
    Despite being accused of putting the cart before the horse, Barbados still reached the destination of republic status before most of her neighbours. Now that the cart and horse are being put back in correct order, those who wanted the Constitution dealt with first should be out in force to contribute to the reformation. Unless that is, their criticism was motivated more by partisan politics than by genuine public interest.
    The republic of North Korea has a constitution which states that all citizens have the right to freedom of speech, assembly and demonstration.
    A constitution by itself means nothing. Our Government must pull out the stops to transform and transport the public to greater political involvement as the constitutional road is paved. But if the citizens themselves do not recognise, and take ownership of what should be an unprecedented opportunity to be heard, seen and make a difference in the country’s governance, it makes us look like cattle. Too willing to be herded, bred and milked we have been.
    Rome was not built in a day and Barbados cannot be built in 56 years.
    But we are alive to witness and participate in what should be the placing of the important cornerstones.
    Adrian Green is a communications specialist. Email Adriangreen14@gmail. com.

    Source: Nation

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  • We welcome constitutional reform
    Last week the members of the Constitutional Reform Commission were sworn in.
    I was surprised by the absence of a representative of the Public Service or its main trade union, since a large part of the Constitution addresses the Public Service. Equally disappointing was the exclusion of a member from the Rastafarian community since both the Muslim and Christian faiths have representatives on the commission. I suspect the commission may meet directly with the Rastafarian group, but this will not give them the same influence or even a deciding vote as would have happened if they were on the commission.
    The biggest hurdle for the commission will be getting sufficient public engagement. Much of the public does not understand the importance of the Constitution or how it affects them.
    When the average person is battling rising gas prices, increased electricity and food bills, and job insecurity, amending a document they don’t understand (or care about) will not grab their attention.
    The first hurdle will be explaining the why.
    Why is constitutional reform important? Why are the views of every person important in the reform process and will the view of the average person influence the content of the revised Constitution?
    Change
    Many people are disillusioned with politics, with the system and with their power to effect change.
    If the public believes their input won’t make a difference, they will not participate in the process.
    If they believe their input is unwelcome and only the views of a select few matter, they will not contribute. If they don’t believe the amendments will help to enrich their lives in some way, they will not participate.
    My advice is to break down the Constitution into the sum of its parts and feed it in bite-sized pieces to the public. The first part deals with citizenship, fundamental rights, and the composition and powers of the three arms of government: the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary. I believe this is the most important part which has the most direct impact on every person in Barbados.
    One thing I have learned in my previous experience as a part-time tutor of law, and in writing these articles and hosting my podcasts, is that people love to know their rights. They generally pay attention
    to any forum which educates them on their legal rights and how to enforce them.
    During the pandemic the issue of fundamental rights and freedoms came to the fore, with many questioning whether these rights were being infringed by lockdowns, curfews and vaccine and testing requirements. The pandemic revealed some of the shortcomings in these constitutional rights and where changes may be needed. We can start the discussion here and engage the public on their thoughts on what changes they wish to the fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution.
    For instance, the protection against discrimination provided by section 23 of the Constitution is wholly inadequate compared to the protection against discrimination provided in the Employment Prevention Of Discrimination Act. Under the Constitution, only five traits are protected from discrimination (race, origin, political opinion, colour and creed).
    Under the Employment Prevention Of Discrimination Act, there are 19 protected characteristics! The protections under the Constitution should be widened.
    The pandemic also raised questions on the fundamental right of freedom of expression and whether the Press should be allowed greater freedoms and protections than currently provided.
    This should be examined. Finally, I personally believe that the right to wear hair exactly as it grows out of one’s head should be a protected right. Our bias against “nappy” hair in favour of straight hair is one of the deep-set colonial beliefs that should be eradicated if we are truly to be a republic. The wearing of locs should also be protected without the need for it to be connected to a religion.
    These are some suggestions on much needed changes to the Constitution and areas in which the public may be willing to engage in the discussion on constitutional reform.

    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters, as well as being a social activist. Email: mrussell.ja@icloud.com

    Source: Nation

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  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    “One of the criticisms of the republic transition was that they should have reformed the Constitution first. Objectors argued that the Government put the cart before the horse. “

    It makes no sense to have a Constitution drafted for a Republic before a Republic is formed.
    That is a bit like fantasizing about the future.

    Rise

    Hypnotize

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  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    .. Or a better analogy would be spending a load of money on furniture for the next house which you are still looking for..

    Mind Rain

    N.Y. State of Mind

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