Our Readers' Opinions
January 22, 2016

The rule of law

Editor: The rule of law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy.{{more}}

Over the past few months, most notably from the cryptic pre-declarative statements of the Hon PM with regard to the date of the election, to the post-election haranguing over the legitimacy of the Government, election petitions, other applications to the High Court, criminal charges pertaining to the possession of a licensed firearm et al, our country seems to be in an almost perpetual state of legal and litigation suspense; never before has one been so attuned to every pronouncement from the lips of our judicial officers, the application and interpretation of the Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

As a ‘young’ practitioner, I am tremendously excited that an opportunity now exists for all Vincentians to engage with the law and its practice under our legal traditions, whether they are duly enrolled counsel, ‘goat-skin’ or otherwise. This opportunity should not be missed in my opinion – it is high time we reclaim the ‘nobility’ of the legal profession which, through diverse reasons, lies oft in tatters.

The rule of law cannot exist without a transparent legal system, the main components of which are a clear set of laws that are freely and easily accessible to all, strong enforcement structures, and an independent judiciary to protect citizens against the arbitrary use of power by the state, individuals or any other organization.

I am afraid, dear Editor, that due to my position, I am unable to comment further on the merits of the various cases due to my position at the Commonwealth, apart from saying that quite literally the world is watching – is our conduct becoming?

I would encourage my legal colleagues, when making public pronouncements on their opinions of the law, to recall the principle of objectivity and appeal to rationality, as opposed to emotive submissions designed to evoke visceral reactions (no matter how one may be passionate about the same).

At the end of the day, we all have to live upon the Blessed Rock Hairouna, in the words of the Holy Quran: For each We [God] have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had God willed, He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He has given you. So vie one with another in good works. Unto God you will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein you differ.

Qur’an, 5:48

Mikhail AX Charles (Esq)

Barrister (Inner Temple) England & Wales (non-practising)

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (SVG, St Lucia and Grenada Circuits)