Friday 10 July, 2020

Comissiong: Government operating like a 'Mafia'

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Social activist and attorney, David Comissiong has charged the Freundel Stuart administration with attempting to destroy the "juridical, political and moral" structure of the country by blatantly disobeying "the rulings of its own Chief Justice and Court of Appeal judges".  

His damming words were made in relation to a case brought against the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) by a group of Commonwealth citizens who were seeking the right to be added to the list of voters ahead of the 2018 General Elections.  

Despite being granted the right to vote in a recent High Court ruling handed down by Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson, successful registration had still not occurred.   

The Court of Appeal later ruled that University of the West Indies Professor, Eddy Ventose did in fact have the right to register but stopped short of compelling the EBC to allow him to do so.  

On Sunday the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) convened a special hearing where the court declared that it was satisfied that the legal and regulatory conditions for Professor Ventose's registration have been met. 

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) was given up until noon on May 14 to add Professor Ventose's name to the list or face the possibility of imprisonment or fines.  

"… If we are thinking seriously about the underlying implications of this determined effort on the part of the Stuart regime to deny the voting rights of Commonwealth citizens who are lawfully resident in Barbados, we will recognize that the Stuart regime has brought us all to the edge of the abyss!" Comissiong said in a statement.  

Comissiong also said the refusal of the CEO and by extension the EBC to follow the rulings handed down by the local court, demonstrated the decay of the rule of Law.  

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"By exhibiting its determination to prevent duly qualified Barbadian residents from being able to exercise their right to vote... the Stuart-regime has provided irrefutable proof of the degeneration of the regime’s very conception of government." 

He charged the government of engaging in practices similar to that of a Mafia.  

"In other words, the regime has boldly informed Barbadians that it no longer considers that it is bound to operate in accordance with the democratic norms and principles enshrined in the Constitution or Supreme Law of Barbados.  Indeed, the regime has boldly declared that it is prepared to be a Mafia and to operate in accordance with the norms and practices of a Mafia." 

Comissiong even went so far as to suggest that the "descent into unconstitutional lawlessness" could lead to civil violence with “cracking of skulls and shooting of people” in order to "maintain an illegitimate governmental regime in power".  

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