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Franklyn challenges COVID directives in High Court


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Franklyn challenges COVID directives in High Court
Senator Caswell Franklyn (right) leaves the Supreme Court accompanied by attorneys Neil Marshall (left) and Shamar Bovell (Picture by Reco Moore)

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Senator Caswell Franklyn today filed a motion with the Supreme Court, charging that the COVID-19 Directives by the Government of Barbados are being imposed illegally.

Franklyn, who was accompanied by attorneys Neil Marshall and Shamar Bovell, said he was not opposed to the measures, but they must be done the right way.

“You cannot do the right thing the wrong way,” he said.

“Right now we have a situation where people have been sentenced to jail under laws that have not seen Parliament yet. Parliament is the only authority in Barbados to make law; the Prime Minister has no authority to make law on her own.”

Franklyn said under current legislation, the maximum fine a prime minister can put in any statutory instrument is $500, but it goes as high as $50 000 under the directive. Similarly, the directive speaks to a year in jail, but the maximum was three months.

“These things did not get the scrutiny of Parliament, because if that had passed through Parliament, I would have seen it, I would have said something and then they might have corrected it.

The Opposition Senator with the People’s Party for Democracy and Development also chided the Members of Parliament for keeping silent.

Franklyn took exception with the language used in the directive, like the term ‘corner shop’. He said laws should be drafted in English, not Bajan.

“We are having people now just doing what they like and somebody has to stand up. If it falls on me to do something about it, then so be it, but I am not prepared to live in Barbados under these conditions. I am not prepared to allow the Government to take away all of my rights; I like my rights too bad and I am not surrendering them, and especially now I am a senator in this country.

“And if they are going to be taken away, I should at least have a say in how they are taken away. They would vote me down nonetheless, but at least I would have a say. I have none now. The Prime Minister so far has not laid any one of these regulations as is required by law in Parliament; she has not laid one. So Parliament has not exercised its will.”

Franklyn said even with the 30-0 in Parliament, the law still had to be followed.

Meanwhile, Marshall said they were asking the court to decide on the constitutionality of the measures, whether they were indeed law, especially where they contradicted each other or ran afoul of other laws.

He said should the court agree with them, people who “suffered injury by these measures” could bring a law suit against the Government of Barbados.