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Rule of lawlessness

“The rule of law can be easily adjusted to become the rule of lawlessness”.

This astute observation was made by none other than the eminent Barbadian jurist and former Chairman of the Nation Commission on Law and Order, Sir Roy Marshall, in an article It was wrong, says jurist.

It would be unfortunate if, because of the seeming simplicity of his statement, we overlook the stark and chilling warning inherent in Sir Roy’s words.

“Lawlessness” is the modus operandi of the lawless. But truth be told, the “adjustment” referred to by Sir Roy can be effected by those who many may not even consider “lawless”! The “adjustment” occurs not necessarily with the loud bang of any one cataclysmic event, but more often takes a quite insidious course whereby, like an odourless poison, over the course of time, without being discerned by many, its lethal mission is accomplished by, inter alia, the manipulation and perversion of the law (!). And, one day (“coming soon”, Gabby?) we wake up to find ourselves enslaved in a “Big Brother” state, dazed and confused by the shackles upon us.

The only bulwark against this “adjustment” is an ever-vigilant, conscious, thinking, independent-minded citizenry unwilling to accept any thought, word or deed, however subtle, however nuanced, from whatever source, that threatens democracy and a courageous citizenry ready to stand up and unmask those who seek to introduce and impose the evil upon it — no matter how palatable they may make it appear!

In a world where appearance, image and illusion so often trump reality and truth and many prefer to somatise themselves, this task is not an easy one. It has been noted by one of the foremost thinkers and writers of the English language that “the further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it” and “in times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”.

Revolutionary acts inevitably lead to social upheaval, as the “lawless” spoken of above, in desperate self-preservation mode, seek to turn back the groundswell of discontent. Very recently, from no other place than the floor of our House of Assembly, Barbadians have had the privilege of being enlightened as to precisely how such a “groundswell” (that was the exact word used by our Minister of Education, Ronald Jones) “by necessity” will be met — by the military forces being called upon to “crack” some Bajan heads and “shoot” some Bajan people.

Sir Roy goes on to make the truly portentous point that, “a lot depends on the quality and the character of the people who operate these organisation”. Indeed it does.

Very well said, Sir Roy. Very well said.

— Lionel James

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