Barbados Government To Suspend The Constitution Again – Owen Arthur Considers It Only A Means To An End

How Many Times Can A Government Change The Constitution In One Year?

A Barbados Free Press Reader Says…

“Could someone please explain for me the proposed amendments to the Public Services Act, that would see a “suspension” in the Constitution to allow appointment of temporary workers?

I”m a little concerned at the ease with which Government can institute “temporary” changes to the highest law in the land to enact appointments, even if the action is indeed a good one that deserves merit.”

BFP Replies…

Members of the Owen Arthur government have shown time and time again that they view the Constitution of Barbados and all laws as an inconvenience or a tool to be used, depending upon the circumstances, rather than as the foundation of an orderly society.

Laws – and especially the Constitution as our highest law – should not be ignored or changed with the winds of every new political idea or government. Yet back in March of this year our government cavalierly changed the Constitution to allow armed foreign troops and police on Bajan soil. This change was done with zero notice, no public debate and no public release of the proposed changes! (See BFP’s article at the time link here)

Then the government changed our Constitution again – this time to hide the immense debt that hangs over each citizen’s head like the Sword of Damocles. (see BFP’s series of articles here, here and here)

In September, the government secretly suspended the Constitution via an Order In Council to allow their agents to listen to Bajan’s conversations and read their mail and email without a judge’s warrant. (BFP story: Secret Order In Council Cancels Privacy Rights)

Now the Government wants to again “suspend” our Constitution so they can do what they want. This power is becoming habit-forming.

“Suspending all or part of the Constitution takes a country into dangerous territory.”

… from the Keltruth Blog article “Leave The Constitution

Once again our friends at Keltruth Blog have put together a solid article that relies upon sections of the Barbados Constitution and brings in other commentary from Bajans. No hype, little opinion – just plainly stated facts that totally destroy the ability of our corrupt government to operate secretly.

Much like the accurately-researched and damning articles produced by Barbados Underground (and occasionally by us when we’re at our best) Keltruth’s articles are impossible for the government to refute – because they rely upon the government’s own information.

No wonder Owen Arthur and his gang fear a Freedom of Information law in Barbados.

Head on over to Keltruth Blog to discover what nefarious business the government is up to now.


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

19 responses to “Barbados Government To Suspend The Constitution Again – Owen Arthur Considers It Only A Means To An End

  1. Wishing in Vain

    It certainly appears to be as often as they want to.
    We may have to have a relook of how freedoms and how our rights have been affected with these numerous changes taking place.

  2. John

    Which constitiution are they going to change?

    Is it the one at Caricomlaw, the one at or the one on the official GOB website?

    Do they even know?

  3. Frankology

    The Constitution of a country is a living document; and should only be amended if that section is passed in Parliament by majority votes.

    We must realised that with higher technology and behavioural patterns, some things within the Constitution might become null and void, thus the updating. But, no Government should amend parts of the Constitution nilly willy for personal or party wishes.

  4. frankology

    What’s happening BFP. I submitted that post and I see VELZO name. Please correct immediately.

  5. Undertaker

    I have to do some more research on this before I really comment, but I do support the “temporary workers” being appointed though.

  6. Eyebother

    The claiming of the King’s power to ‘suspend’ or ‘dispense’ with laws was one of the key reasons for the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which established the principle of parliamentary sovereignty which prevails today constitutional monarchies (such as Barbados). The passing of Orders in Council depend on the fiction of the sovereignty of the Crown in the hands of parliament. It is, if we remember, because the DLP in the time of Erskine Sandiford passed laws to retrospectively legalize illegal acts of seizure (sea island cotton, anybody), that the whole civil society of Barbados began to turn against them. The BLP should realize that people worry when ‘parliament’ via this constitutional monarchist principle claims prerogatives for short term modification of laws.

    But, to be cynical, are enough Barbadians hurting yet from the economic policies of the government to bother to turn against the BLP? I really don;t think so, and the DLP still isn’t really impressive in my view.

    So we will continue to float for a while. Or are we at a revolutionary juncture of a kind?

  7. theNickster

    “This Constitution is the supreme law of Barbados and, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and the other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”

    So many logic holes no wonder the BLP snakes can slip in and out at will. So what if its found that the government changed a few things, so what if its found that (as mad as people may get for the political floundering) there is nothing they can do about it because our constitution gives them the permission.
    Is Barbados even independent? are we no longer slaves? Who is going to stop Owen and his merry gang? Thompson? PEP?
    Are you people for real? If a few blocks can be easily kicked out of the foundation then what is it really made of anyway. Its temp workers today and impeachment immunity tomorrow. Why should they restrain themselves to just that change or the change before or the one before that, have these people shown restraint in any other mismanagement endeavors?

  8. frankology

    Well said Nickster.

  9. Ex MP

    I expected the government would have to back off. It would be a dangerous development. Just the thought of it frightens me immensely.

    I truly believe that Owen Arthur – who I once admired – has lost his way and needs to be rested. I have been a BLP supporter all of my life but I can’t honestly say I will vote – I know this: I will not vote for Owen Arthur and/or Mia Mottley.

    The party has lost its way and undermined the very fouundations on which it once stood. I am appalled at what I read coming out of the Prime Minister’s office by Royalrumble. That is dangerous stuff. And to have that kind of person right next to a Prime Minister is a very, very worrying development.

    From the time of Mascoll’s defection, I cant find my verve and enthusiasm for my party. It cannot be right in the Westminster system for this to happen and the Prime Minister should not condone it.

    Worse still was the appointment of David Simmons in the manner in which it was done. He walked right out of the cabinet into the post of Attorney General.

    We were once accused of being tyrants under the late Tom Adams, but Owen Arthur makes Tom look like a school-boy as Louis Tull often says.

  10. more

    Ex MP said, “He walked right out of the cabinet into the post of Attorney General.”

    Did you mean out of the cabinet into the post of Chief Justice?

  11. Ex MP

    Very much so. He was introduced as the next Chief Justice right after a Cabinet meeting and he made some comments about his record as a member of parliament in a partisan context. I found that inappropriate in any democracy.

    No break, no rest, no hiatus, the next day he had the job! That is wrong as far as I see it.

  12. Pingback: » The Cricket Match - Constitutional Satire Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.

  13. Surely there are strict constraints as to how and when our Constitution can be changed?

    What are they, and how can BLP so easily brush them aside when it suits them?


    BFP Comments…

    They were able to change the Constitution for CWC so readily because the so-called “Opposition” DLP co-operated with the government!

  14. Ex MP

    BFP: you know that that is not so. The government has 2/3 majority and used it.


    BFP Comments…

    And the opposition spoke not one word against it, and voted for it.

  15. O'Dayisu

    Where else in the world can the scum that sucks the very life out of the people sit next to the common man and drink and eat to nausea while his neighbour starves? Their deeds show blatant disregard for the livelihood of the citizen, present and future, and still they walk among us, and smile at us, flaunting their spoils. Safe. If your neighbour had stolen all your money and taken all you own, leaving you destitute, should they feel safe in your house? Ultimately, one must find that preservation and betterment of one’s self and one’s own is paramount. Granted, if each person focuses on that alone, regardless of means and with no regard for the next, then there is chaos and anarchy. That is why there is law. To engender and protect equality and civilization. However, where the law does not protect you, is toothless and is even manipulated by the marauders as a tool to facilitate your dispossession, then you must protect yourself. Either that or accept your fate. These thieves are accessible and outnumbered. How does one fight pigs without rolling in the mud? Bajans have unexplored options. Sometimes the greatest weakness of any majority is not acknowledging the power in being the majority. The fact that this blog exists is testament to the fact that we have passed to point where words are effective. If they feared the dissemination of the truth, BU and BFP would not be here. Doing the things they do, to leave the house should fill them with fear.

  16. Hants

    BFP Comments…

    They were able to change the Constitution for CWC so readily because the so-called “Opposition” DLP co-operated with the government!

    Sorry BFP but that is not fair comment when the BLP has a majority government.

    Also if the DLP had tried to protest too strongly against anything related to world cup, the majority of Bajans would have been angry at them.

    Most Bajans thought that World cup was going to be a windfall of riches.

    In the words of the Real great Malik, everybody in Buhbadus was fuh cup.

  17. BFP


    BFP Comments…

    And the opposition spoke not one word against the CWC constitutional change, and then voted for it.

    With the exception of the recent Hardwood Housing scandal, the Opposition has generally been weak, silent and ineffective in and out of Parliament.

    That’s our opinion but obviously shared by many as at this point in time with the BLP’s record, it should be a cake walk for the DLP… but it is not. That is directly attributable to lack of vision, communication and lack of opposition effectiveness over the last few years.

    The Mascol fiasco didn’t help as it showed that the DLP was anything but united.

    We’re not saying that Thompson can’t be an effective leader, we’re saying that he had a leaky ship to begin with. Now that the ship is “repaired” he needs to show his stuff. So far, he has only been successful with one issue though.

  18. Wishing in Vain

    The relation to the CWC is unreasonable and a silly comparison this was seen as doing for the good of the island for a global event, and the opposition would have been seen as opposing for the sake of opposing.
    Lets not get confused and carried way with our own self belief.

  19. Wishing in Vain

    Desperate attempt at abuse of power
    Published on: 11/28/07.

    I FEEL COMPELLED to write this short letter on the matter of the suspension of the Constitution of Barbados that was recently attempted by the Barbados Labour Party administration.

    Government claimed, according to the news report, that there were 3 000 individuals in the Public Service who were not appointed. A bill was
    therefore laid in Parliament to suspend the Constitution for a short period so as to permit Government to appoint these people.

    This action, if condoned, would have allowed Cabinet to bypass all the established procedures for appointments in the Public Service of Barbados and do its own thing.

    What is really shocking is that in a democracy like Barbados, a Cabinet could conceive of such an act.

    The next logical step in this behaviour would be for Cabinet to suspend the Constitution of Barbados in the event that there are people in the Public Service who it feels should be disciplined or dismissed.

    What a chilling thought!

    Luckily for us, Leader of the Opposition, Mr David Thompson, the trade unions and in particular the National Union of Public Workers, and the People’s Empowerment Party took a strong stand against the move and the Government was forced to agree to revert to the long established procedures.

    What has become of the interest groups – the Bar Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, the Small Business Association, the Manufacturers’ Association, the Hotel Association, the National Organisation of Women, the credit union movement, the Barbados Economic Society, the newspaper columnists, the University of the West Indies – in this country?

    We have not heard so much as a squeak from them on this attempted abuse of power.

    Have they lost their way like this Government and do they not care about what threatens the citizens of this country? Or do they dare not utter one word in condemnation of this Barbados Labour Party administration?

    Barbadians must wake up and be aware that desperate people would stop at nothing to hold onto power/office.