Saturday 26 September, 2020

Gov't warned against using COVID-19 State of Emergency to cover up

Opposition leader, Bishop Joseph Atherley speaks on the move to extend the state of the Public Health Emergency.

Opposition leader, Bishop Joseph Atherley speaks on the move to extend the state of the Public Health Emergency.

Opposition Leader, Bishop Joseph Atherley has warned the ruling Government not to use the island's State of Public Health Emergency as a cover to implement national policies. 

In a stern warning to the Mia Mottley-led administration this afternoon from the House of Assembly, Artherley expressed his support for Government's move to extend the national State of Emergency (SoE) but emphasized that Government should not use the threat of the novel coronavirus as a cover to put in place measures that would not usually get a nod of approval from the public of Barbados, nor should the ruling Government use its large parliamentary numbers to achieve its goal. 

While responding to the Amendment to the proclamation laid by the Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw, Atherley said:  

"I would just want to advise and encourage this Government not to be so disposed as to use the cover of COVID as to attempt to be the type of administration that in the darkness of this hour implements measures or puts in place strictures which would not under normal circumstances find concordance with the public of Barbados. So I advise very strongly that Government not use this COVID threat as cover for any such enterprise. 

"This Government is also in a position to use the power of numbers if it is so disposed to achieve such nefarious ends and I would want to counsel against that."

Asserting that he is in now charging the Government, he stressed:

"I want to be very clear that I am supporting the measure before us, but I am simply saying from my limited experience on this Earth, from my appreciation for political history, there have been many instances and some ongoing right now where governments would have used the power of numbers and the cover of the state of emergency to engage in policy positions and other positions which others people would not have given consent or approval." 

The Opposition leader went on to remind the Barbados Labour Party administration, that the Parliament of Barbados was the highest law-making body of the island, and legislative changes and amendments must be presented in Parliament before making it to the lawbooks. 

"The situation in which we are placed legislatively now puts some inordinate powers in the bosom or hands of the Cabinet but it should never be lost sight of that the highest law-making body in Barbados is the Parliament of Barbados and therefore nothing should be done to suggest that we are trifling with this institution," Atherley stressed. 

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