PBS Communications Inc. Blog: Reliance upon Privy Council “Niggardly” (!!!)

“Mind you, this is not to say that the CCJ is the only real alternative. In fact, the jingoistic politics that have made CARICOM such a dysfunctional laughing stock actually militate against member states turning to this regional court as a replacement for the Privy Council.

Accordingly, we may find that the only viable alternative is for each CARICOM country to simply establish its own Supreme Court. To be sure, this would be an ironic default outcome; after all, a judiciary with a final court of appeal at its apex is a hallmark of any independent nation.

In any case, it is immature, irresponsible and, frankly, niggardly for Caribbean leaders to have relied all these years on our former colonial master to fulfill this essential function of our national self-determination.”

…Lawyer Anthony L. Hall writing at Petal Barclay-Smith’s blog

Anthony Hall proposes nothing less than full surrender to an oligarchy

Petal Barclay-Smith

Petal Barclay-Smith

Washington lawyer and Turks & Caicos ex-pat Anthony L. Hall is letting fly over at Petal Barclay-Smith’s blog about the failure of CARICOM states to establish a Supreme Court or courts.

If Mr. Hall uses the word “niggardly” to attract attention, well, he has ours. I don’t care what the origin of the word was. I don’t care what the proper use of the word is – in the real world it makes the hairs on the back of my neck start to tingle and it works its way right around the top to my eyebrows and then for just a moment I want to punch somebody in the face. Then it passes.

A writer can do something a little outrageous and keep the audience thinking about the main point, or upset the readers and cause them to lose focus on what the writer wants to communicate. We have that problem around here ourselves all the time so we understand about coming a little too close to the line.

But, “Niggardly”???

Really, Mr. Hall…

Now as to Mr. Hall’s conclusion that perhaps Barbados and other CARICOM states should each establish their own Supreme Court…

Is Mr. Hall on the planet earth?

Has he been in Washington so damned long that he has forgotten what it’s like on these small island nations when a small group of people wield all power? Good Lord!

Chief Justice Simmons - Career Politician Is No Independent Judge!

Chief Justice Simmons - Career Politician Is No Independent Judge!

In Barbados we have a Chief Justice who was first a lawyer and businessman, then a politician, then a Cabinet Minister, Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General – who then took a few weeks off and was appointed as the highest judge in the land!

Chief Justice David Simmons and Prime Minister Owen Arthur who appointed him didn’t care about even the appearance of judicial independence. It was a consolidation of raw political power the likes of which set Bajan democracy back four decades.

And that is exactly what citizens of Barbados could expect if our tiny country of fewer than 300,000 people established a Supreme Court. It’s bad enough now trying to get a fair shake in the courts, but if there was no higher authority to turn to outside of Barbados this country would be nothing more than a dictatorship of a select group of insiders (which we are close enough to already.)

Mr. Hall should give his head a shake.

Agree or disagree with Mr. Hall, you can tell him what you think at…

PBS Communications Inc. Blog: No more Privy Council; take care of your own judicial mess!


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

21 responses to “PBS Communications Inc. Blog: Reliance upon Privy Council “Niggardly” (!!!)

  1. Hants


    The UK does not want the “problem” of dealing with the cases from caribbean countries.

    Good bad or indifferent,Barbados should create its own “privy council”.
    All Barbadian Lawyers and Judges are not thieves and vagabonds. We can find “a few good men” to be the last hope for “Justice”.

    As for the word that offends you, I hope Mr.Hall will not use it again regardless of the context.
    What I really think is unprintable.

  2. how much?

    The CCJ is a nice concept of self rule but not much more and at a horrible cost to Barbadians.

    Our esteemed Chief Justice couldn’t say enough bad things about the PC which was Barbados one and only functioning independent court.

    The thought of putting these same power brokers and deal makers in one small court in Trinidad makes a mockery of the concept of independence and Rule of Law.

    BFP, what has this court cost taxpayers and how many cases are heard a year?

  3. lp

    Hants, I bet that you can not name a few good ones.

    You have more fingers on one hand than there are good ones.

  4. kiki

    Lawyers work for fees and commissions
    .. not justice

    It’s like saying that politicians are nice people
    working in the best interests of the public
    when they really want to control the population
    and take away their rights

  5. Sing-a-Song

    Any discomfort at the word “niggardly” may suggest a low self esteem not to mention a poor vocabulary. The Caribbean nations unwillingness to sever ties with the British Privy Council is in part truly niggardly as in stingy and only grudgingly acknowledging the true cost of independence and national sovereignty.

  6. Johnny

    Maybe the delay in moving to the CCJ from the Privy Council was seen by some as ensuring that translucence was maintained in the changeover.

  7. BFP

    IMHO it’s about lack of confidence in the result and chaos during the process – not to mention an integration with CARICOM economic and political problems.

  8. Jack Bowman

    Oh, for the love of the Invisible Guy in the Sky, BFP, you are being deeply disappointing here.

    I’ve said it many times before and it bears repeating: I’m a big fan of the blog. It’s interesting and well-written and more than occasionally witty. Almost always, it’s a must-read for anyone with an interest in the doings of Barbados.

    A hater of racism and a fighter against it to the marrow of my bones, in the past with the bruises to prove it, I ask you: Should we henceforth look askance at the standard English verb “to honk”? Do only kikes kick? Should we be sensitive about “kick”? Should the millions of people who own the utterly beautiful cat known as a Maine Coon have their felines destroyed and get a dog instead?

    To abjure the perfectly legitimate word “niggardly” is to surrender to the ignorance of dunces. To reject it is simply slovenly thinking. The thinking is always in the writing, and vice versa.

    To support such ignorance, I hope and had always assumed, is beneath your level of thinking.

  9. John Da Silva

    According to Wikipedia:

    There have been several controversies concerning the word “niggardly”, an adjective meaning “stingy” or “miserly”, in the United States due to its phonetic similarity to the racial slur “nigger”. The two words are, however, completely unrelated etymologically.

    Word origins

    “Niggardly” (noun: “niggard”) is an adjective meaning “stingy” or “miserly”, perhaps related to the Old Norse verb nigla = “to fuss about small matters”. It is cognate with “niggling”, meaning “petty” or “unimportant”, as in “the niggling details”.

    “Nigger” derives from the Spanish/Portuguese word negro, meaning “black”, and probably also the French nègre, which likewise has become a racist insult in American culture, deriving from negro (the ordinary French word for “black” being noir). Both negro and noir (and therefore also nègre and nigger) ultimately come from nigrum, the accusative case of the Latin word niger, meaning “black”.

  10. BFP

    Hello Mr. Da Silva

    I know all that, like I said I don’t care about the origin of the word.

    Sometimes meanings change with context.

    Bad word. Bad.

  11. Crusoe

    Jack Bowman, that is a very pedantic approach, not recognising the nuances of the word in respect to context and the whole of the passage, rather than splitting hairs on the definitions therein.

    Certainly, that approach, in a matter of qords and language is also, in my opinion, incorrect, as irrespective of initial use and origin, language, as we should all know is dynamic and will take on relevant meaning.

    But then, some will choose a vanilla approach to everything, rather than assess each case on its merits, which is possibly why the CCJ would be good.

    Hopefully, interpretations will be within a Caribbean context rather than a vanilla approach being adopted, based on the text in the case submissions, with little knowledge of the background and culture, in which circumstances in the relevant case have occurred.

  12. Living in Barbados

    @BFP: “I know all that, like I said I don’t care about the origin of the word.

    Sometimes meanings change with context.

    Bad word. Bad.”

    This is where you will run into a huge problem. You should care about the origin of the word(s); that’s what gives real meaning. On some streets ‘bad’ may mean good, but it’s a limited common understand. Misundersting the origin and therefore condoning misuses makes no sense.

    The words may sound similar in English, but in translation no one would ever have a problem.

    We do not want to confuse “Barack Obama” and think that it may mean an Irish fort, now. Or that the Dalai Lama is any kind of Andean animal, either. Nor would we wish to think that Jimmy Carter meant Jimmy cart her (anywhere). You are running with a dangerous fallacy about language.

    Whether black people or others have a problem with how a word sounds may be a sad reflection on history, but you can’t then consign words to some dustbin due to constant misuse. Try it with children. I did. They do not confuse corner with ‘corn her’ and other silliness.

    So, a good word, badly understood is what I would say. Pity for any lack of education or lack of care about how language should develop.

    I will remain niggardly with any praise I have for your line of reasoning.

  13. Hope Springs Eternal

    Lib, I know I can always count on you to sort out foolishness. Bravo.

  14. Hants

    @ Living in Barbados

    You appear to be intelligent enough not to use “the word” in the company of Black people unless you are certain they have the education to understand the correct interpretation.

    They may only hear the first two syllables and react accordingly.

    I will remain carefully restricting myself to words that cannot be misinterpreted as offensive.

  15. Living in Barbados

    @Hants, as we move coyly, to avoid THE N- word, we should not fall over words that have a similar syllabic sound or whatever. We cannot determine what will cause offence, and we explain misunderstandings. We can play this game for ages and be silly and confuse ourselves. I am a Protestant but very catholic in my tastes. I know what is due; I am no Jew; I will happily stand with the dew falling on my head.

    We also have to beware how localised linguistics can corrupt. With no offence meant, those who speak in ‘thuggish’ words, or some ‘urban’ lingo use their base language bizarrely, but I will not run with their use. I am on a different road, and I say we do not perpetuate misuse and misunderstanding.

  16. Sargeant

    BFP objects to the use of “niggardly” because it sounds so much like that other “N word”. I hope that the crew will get together and decide once and for all what position you are going to take on this issue. You see I happen to remember an exchange that we had on this very medium just over a year ago, and in case anyone forgot- here it is again.


  17. BFP

    Sargeant, I really don’t see any connection at all with the current subject. What am I missing?

    There’s sarcasm and illustrating how the Chinese feel about race – and then there is using the word in a normal way in ordinary conversation which is not proper.

    Much like ROK and people who refer to Canadian Tourists as “white trash”.


  18. Sing-a-Song

    Crusoe has been most niggardly with clarity of expression as well as logic in his/her most recent post.

    Those suffering from a compulsion to be politically correct are advised that reading blogs may be stress inducing.

  19. Crusoe


    No, man. My post just requires some intellectual capacity to understand what I ez saying’.

    And, there may be a bit of tongue-in-cheek there too, effin one was of the capability to onderstand.

    Maybe, you ez doing exactly wh’ yuh accused me of.

    Go sing. Make the world a brighter place, for you and me and the entire human race. And while you are at it. Teach the world to sing too.

  20. Jack Bowman

    To all posters on this thread:

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything said here by LIB. Jew? Well, perhaps not all of you do.

    Slight digression … Reminds me of a match in the 1978 World Cup when, during a match, David Coleman (a Brit football commentator) said that Asa Hartford (a player for Scotland) was a “wholehearted player”. He had to apologise because it was well known to all football fans that Asa literally had a hole in his heart.

  21. Jack Bowman

    Mr. Crusoe takes me to task: “Jack Bowman, that is a very pedantic approach, not recognising the nuances of the word in respect to context and the whole of the passage, rather than splitting hairs on the definitions therein.”

    Having established his credentials as a language maven and perhaps even as a professional philologist, Mr. Crusoe says:

    “Hopefully, interpretations will be within a Caribbean context rather than a vanilla approach being adopted, based on the text in the case submissions, with little knowledge of the background and culture, in which circumstances in the relevant case have occurred.”

    Now, I have to concede that I found that last bit a tad confusing, Mr. Crusoe. Perhaps it’s because I never studied Martian. Could you translate it into English? Many thanks.

    The quality of the thinking is always evident in the quality of the writing. Is that you, David? It certainly sounds like you.