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It’s morality versus legality


PAT S.R. CALLENDER

It’s morality versus legality

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Barbados achieved partial Independence from the clutches of Britain on November 30, 1966. Constitutional experts have made us aware that certain niceties have still to be attended to before the process can be regarded as completed and full Independence achieved.

Prior to the big night when there was great fanfare and euphoria, a document called the Constitution of Barbados had been drawn up, its contents reflecting great confidence in the goodness of human nature. Consequently, there were gaping loopholes, of which the citizenry have now been made painfully aware over the more than 50 years the Constitution has been the supreme law of Barbados.

Its legality is not in question, but the morality of its application is such that it virtually strips the citizenry of Barbados of any power to control the behaviour of its elected representatives. Parliamentarians who are members of the Cabinet of Barbados do not feel themselves compelled to answer questions put to them by other parliamentary representatives in the public interest.

The Public Accounts Committee and the work of the Auditor General are treated with disrespect even in the face of apparent squandermania and possible malfeasance. And, yes, the electoral process is almost entirely subjected to the whims and fancies of those who are allowed to wield excessive power without the necessary checks and balances to safeguard the concept of democracy in Barbados.

Unfortunately, it is quite legal for a considerable period of time to elapse after the dissolution of Parliament during which Cabinet members can continue to preside over the public purse, while representing no identifiable constituencies, since there is no Parliament and therefore no parliamentary representatives. Why should this continue for up to 90 days? 

It is crunch time, evidenced by the rush to sell off what little is owned collectively by Barbadians. There are an increasing number of our citizens who believe that to bring any long-term economic plans in the present circumstances is to . . . (I cannot find the words to describe but it has to do with people’s intelligence). 

Whenever a new government is finally put in place, the people of Barbados will expect better, much better.

– PAT S.R. CALLENDER

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