Our Readers' Opinions
February 25, 2011
Why change laws to cover the misdeeds of others?


Editor: By now, if you are sufficiently vigilant, you will have become aware of the dangerous infringement, which the recent bills have placed upon the democratic rights and freedoms of our people. If you didn’t notice, don’t be shocked. A few simple factors could explain why. Traditionally, such bills are brought before Parliamentarians, and by law must be read and voted upon, twice before they are passed.{{more}} In the past, this was normally on two separate sittings of the House, and as such between both sittings, Vincentians would have had some time to absorb the novelty and the change these bills would create. You may not have known, but for whatever purposes, Government read twice, and passed these amendments in a single sitting at dead midnight.

Because these amended Bills were brought to Parliament at the same time when the Annual Budget is debated, the drawn out drama which both sides repeat from year to year is so boring; it turned us off long before the separate debates on the amendments even began. So we paid little attention.

We just had Elections, so when Parliamentarians participate in the debates, with one dramatic display after another, it appears to be all political; when in absolute terms, debating the amendments is essentially a legal matter. Vincentians are tired of Politics. We want to disassociate ourselves from the drama, and so we pay even less attention. Big Mistake.

Do you remember before the recent General Elections there was the Referendum, the results from which created a shift in the political climate that continued well into the following year and unto the recently passed elections? Two things: 1) The long drawn out dispensations were the chief reasons why Politics took a heavy toll on Vincentians. Politics; we tired of it. 2) The difference in results between the Referendum and General Elections. For a moment, let’s focus on the latter, and its significance.

The ULP was declared victorious in the 2010 Elections, and returned to Government with a very slim margin. On the other hand, however long and wide were public discussions conducted, prior to the vote on the Referendum, Vincentians voted a solid NO. Why? To my mind, Vincentians did not feel comfortable enough with Government (tinkering) changing the constitution and its laws. This may be one reason why the ULP lost some ground. Today, however, after the Prime Minister has called for reconciliation, and promised to listen to Vincentians, why does he still tamper with our laws and suppress the democratic rights of Vincentians when the people clearly rejected such notions by our Referendum vote in the first place? No regard for Vincentians.

To make or to amend laws is one thing, but to do so retroactively is completely another. OK. So let’s argue that the ULP has retroactively passed laws, so as to cover their indiscretions from the last elections. For my part, regardless to which political camp that breaks our laws, why not let the rule of law hold them accountable for their misdeeds? NO. Instead, we learn that Government is removing laws which seek to maintain decency during political campaigns and elections!! I just don’t get it. Isn’t this a recipe to create mayhem?

What, therefore, could justify such amendments? If there are misdeeds that any political party now wishes to evaporate, why should it not cost them to do so? Why reverse useful laws just to have them serve only their interests; then make other laws to provide them with more power, all at the cost and loss of lawful privileges provided for common Vincentian People? How can that be right?

Why does every Vincentian have to pay to cover the misdeeds of others, who prefer not to take responsibility for their own acts, but who instead, prefer to reward themselves and create lawlessness and a free for all? This is plain madness. The Prime Minister should be the one to practice law, not the one to break or bend them over our backs. Those days are long gone. Are we moving back there?

These amendments cannot be justified with common sense, and they were rushed past Vincentians in Parliament at midnight Friday, Jan. 28th, 2011. These amendments are now promised to go before a Select committee. They are not yet ratified as law; but yet, it feels like the Midnight Robber still has his foot on my chest and my birthright in his hands. I may have a struggle standing up, but somehow I must get free. I also know I will have to get this thug out of my house.

Victimized Citizen.