THE MOORE THINGS CHANGE: Your turn, ladies!
By Carl Moore | Sun, April 15, 2012 - 12:00 AM
My late friend John Wickham used to notice that he received the heaviest response to his columns when he wrote about his dog Ebony.
Let me hasten to head off – in the early – any assault from the numerous dog lovers who might wish to take umbrage with my recollection.
It’s neither a negative reflection on dogs nor John Wickham.
I recall John’s observation in connection with my column of two Sundays ago headlined He, She Or It . . . . Again, with no negative reflection on man’s best friend, I find that the essays on which I exert the most mental energy and research usually elicit the least response.
For months, I had been drafting, rewriting, revising, deleting and starting again – before I submitted it to my editor.
It seemed only to have attracted the attention of two friends, Earl Browne and Ezra Alleyne. One called, the other honoured me by making his response the subject of his own Sunday column of a week ago.
I am indebted to both.
Mr Alleyne elucidated a number of areas and at the same time obfuscated others, sharp legal mind that he possesses. In fairness to him, as a columnist myself, I suspect that the constraints of word count should take the blame (my own quota is 650 words) and so, I look forward to his return to my quandary about the Constitution of Barbados.
May I remind him that while I concentrated much attention on the awkward grammar surrounding the third person singular pronoun, my deeper interest lay in the shelf life of the Barbados Constitution itself.
And here, I repeat my complete agreement with third United States president Thomas Jefferson’s idea that constitutions should reflect the needs and realities of the living and ought to be renewed – he suggested every 19 years in a letter to James Madison, the fourth president – I prefer every half-century, or about two generations.
I would have liked to hear Mr Alleyne’s explanation for – if not a bill of rights – the series of amendments that have been appended to our 46-year-old document. Also, if so inclined, Mr Alleyne could hardly avoid a look-in on the controversial 1974 amendments.
Never mind that the political party of which he is a member had promised on return to office – which happened two years later – that they would undo what Prime Minister Errol Barrow had done.
Of course, they haven’t got around to that yet, after 24 years as Government!
And what about the review commissions chaired by Sir Mencea Cox in 1977 and Sir Henry Forde in 1996? Cox recommended that we keep the monarchy; Forde said let’s go republic.
It seems to me – layman that I am – that the very fact that much public expenditure was employed in the work of the two commissions just mentioned (the Forde Commission travelled to Britain and the United States) leaves a thinking person to suspect that a possible renewal of our Constitution was contemplated, though not realized.
In his usual avuncular manner, constitutional theorist Mr Alleyne wrote last Sunday: “So it does not matter that digital technology was not thought of in 1966. Nor does it matter that the founding fathers may not have thought of a female President of the Senate in earlier times. Nor is it particularly important that the word ‘he’ is frequently used in the Supreme Law, because the ‘law is not an ass’, as so many think, and the legal interpretation of the masculine includes the feminine. He means ‘he’ and ‘she’.”
The emphasis on the last 14 words is mine.
I will be convinced only after I hear similar words from the lips of the several eminent ladies on the bench, in the magistracy, at the Bar, as well as those graduating annually from the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies.
In any given group of 30 new attorneys, you’re lucky to find ten men.
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