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Why the amended bills are a threat

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Editor: Let us look at a hypothetical case.

Suppose a Prime Minister’s son drove a Motor Bike on the road and the bike was not licensed or insured, and suppose the Prime Minister’s son did not have a License to drive a bike.

Suppose he met with an accident in which he knocked down or killed your child, parent, husband or wife. And suppose the Police did not prosecute him.{{more}}

Suppose you decided to bring a Private Criminal Case against the Prime Minister’s son for Motor Manslaughter and Reckless Driving and the DPP refused to issue this FIAT!!

This is very possible and can affect anyone of us at any time!!

Even if you were able to find $5,000.00 – $8,000.00 to pay a Lawyer for Judicial Review to question the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision, the case will take a minimum of one (1) year to be completed; meanwhile your relative is rotting in the grave.

The final appeal is over. The verdict says because the DPP has “absolute discretion,” you cannot prove he acted perversely or wrongly. You cannot rely on the mere fact that it’s the Prime Minister’s son and the DPP is a party supporter and you have no evidence that the DPP took Political matters into consideration when he refused to issue the FIAT.

That’s the end of your Case!!!

My people this is very, very real and plausible. Do not wait until this affects you personally to object. It will be too late then. The amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code is bad and dangerous because:-

1. It makes the DPP a “gate-stopper,” not a “gate-keeper” as he was before the amendment;

2. You will lose any J.R unless you have videotapes etc of any alleged bias.

3.There is a High Court Judgement that the DPP exercised “Bad Judgment and was “wrong” and “perverse.”

4. The fact that it is retroactive may stop all cases, even those filed before the amendments, including those whose cause of action arose before the amendments.

5. It increases the “absolute discretion” of the DPP and leaves a bad legacy for our children. Forever and henceforth it is feared that all DPP’s will be political appointees. This will be the virtual end of independent Directors of Public Prosecutions in St. Vincent.

6. It’s costly and time consuming to seek Judicial Review.

7. If the New Amendment did not change the Law materially, why would the ULP risk so much to pass the amendments?

8. Why at this time?-Because it is to protect parliamentarians who were charged with breaking the law!!

The bill to amend the Representation of the People Act is a most dangerous and self-serving bill:-

9. It will affect directly your right to vote in free and fair elections.

10. This bill serves to abolish the exact election offence that ULP politicians were charged with, “making false statements for the purpose of winning an election”.

11. The recent Privy Council Case of Woolas states :

“The Primary protection of this statute was the protection of the constituency against acts which would be fatal to freedom of election. There would be no true freedom of election, no real expression of the opinion of the constituency, if votes were given in consequence of the dissemination of a false statement as to the personal character or conduct of a candidate….”

Woolas was charged in 2010 under the exact provision Gonsalves, Burgin, Slater and McKie are charged. Woolas lost his case and had to vacate his seat.

13. It is right to abolish a Law because you are charged with breaking it?

14. Must you and your relatives endure the penalty for breaking laws and politicians merely abolish the law they are charged for breaking?

15. If this bill is passed and if there is a by-election, there is nothing to prevent 500 persons who live in Gonsalves’ constituency registering illegally in say East Kingstown or your constituency to affect the vote, and your vote will become diluted.

16. What is to stop any government – ULP or NDP from registering people in weaker constituencies to gerrymander the vote? NDP can bring 1000 people from the Grenadines to vote on mainland!!

17. Why seek to abolish S51 (3) & (4) of the Representation of the People Act at this time? The only reason is:

– To save the four politicians charged from sharing Woolas’ Fate – to lose their seats in parliament.

  • You have the POWER
  • No Government is greater than people
  • Power to the People

It took merely 1% of the population demonstrating in Egypt to bring President Mubarak down. There are 31 million people in Egypt.

  • NEVER underestimate the power of even 300 people demonstrating in SVG
  • Martin Luther King Changed America with less than 1¼2 % of the American Population


Kay Bacchus Browne