February 4, 2005
Wire-tapping gets Campbell’s nod

The controversial issue of wire-tapping has found support in one of this country’s former attorneys general.

Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission, Parnel Campbell Q.C. last Friday expressed his support for wire-tapping at a special sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in Kingstown as he made his contribution to a ceremony held to pay tribute to Justice Adrian Saunders, a son of the soil who was selected to serve on the Bench of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). {{more}}

“There should be no automatic antagonism towards elements of policy which might, on the face of it, appear to impinge on individual rights. To that extent, I support the proposal, nascent as they are, for a controlled form of wire-tapping in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I will like to go on record with that here and now”, Campbell stated.

The Queen’s Counsel said that while we support and applaud the gains made in the field of promotion and championing of individual rights, it should not be forgotten that there are such things as collective rights. He said that very often one gets the impression that the rights of the state are to be totally emasculated in favour of the rights of the individual citizen. He advised that a proper balance be maintained, noting that there were days when the citizens looked to the state for certain fundamentals.

He stated: “To a terrorist, a life doesn’t matter – no matter what the nationality, age, sex or circumstances. Crime has been escalating in all parts. And if the state is to maintain its ability to protect us from crime, the state must be accorded certain facilities to carry out that protection. We cannot, on the one hand, emasculate the state and then expect the state to carry out its proper function. So that, in proper cases, the balance must be trust.”