Comissiong: Crime plan must not trample Bajans’ rights

Government is being warned it was venturing down “a very slippery slope” with a proposal to give police the power to search individuals even without reason of suspicion.

Attorney-at-law David Comissiong said the Freundel Stuart administration must be careful not to violate the rights and civil liberties of Barbadians in the name of crime fighting.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite today announced at the third quarterly general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Hilton Barbados Resort that Government would implement a series of measures to tackle the island’s crippling crime rate.

Among these is a plan to give police the power to search people’s properties even if there is no suspicion of a crime.

However, stating that he was anxiously awaiting further details of the proposal, Comissiong warned that Government could end up trampling on people’s rights.

The prominent attorney-at-law, who last year successfully challenged a Government plan to fingerprint Barbadians leaving and entering the country, said while the crime situation called for a serious response, Barbados was a “free and democratic country” with laws that must be respected.

“I would therefore deprecate any effort by the state to trample upon the legitimate civil liberties and rights of the Barbadian people. Even though we recognize that there is a crime situation that merits our serious response, at the same time the response cannot be to overturn the rights that the Barbadian people possess to their privacy, to the sanctity of their homes and their property,” Comissiong stressed.

“As an attorney-at-law and a citizen of this country, I would be severely opposed to any idea that an officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force could enter the home of a Barbadian citizen and search it without just cause and without having a requisite search warrant.”

In making the announcement this morning, Brathwaite acknowledged the proposal was a “dicey” one since individuals’ constitutional rights must also be protected.

Notwithstanding, Comissiong told Barbados TODAY he was comforted in the fact that in order to amend the Barbados constitution it required a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.

“The system that we have has a built-in mechanism for proper consideration and discussion at a parliamentary level of any proposal to cut down or curtail the constitutional rights of the Barbadian people,” he said.

“If indeed the attorney general has made such a proposal it would suggest to me that the attorney general is out of his depth and would be well advised to seek the counsel of wiser and more mature heads in respect of that matter.”

Brathwaite also announced plans to install cameras at the island’s ports of entry, a proposal that was immediately applauded by the BHTA, with chairperson Roseanne Myers declaring, “that is the kind of positive approach that we welcome”.

However, it has been a contentious issue dating back to 2003, when the then Barbados Labour Party administration attempted to install surveillance cameras in the transit sheds at the port.

Back then customs officers protested, in very much the same way that they did in 2010 when closed circuit surveillance cameras were installed in the arrivals hall of Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).

“The cameras are operated by the GAIA and also have audio or eavesdropping capacity. The customs officers see this as an insult to them as a law enforcement agency to have another agency monitoring them on a 24-hour basis,” one customs source said back then.

The officers, backed by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), have maintained that due to the sensitive nature of their work, including examining passengers’ baggage and conducting interviews, it was inappropriate to have “an external agency having access to such intimate knowledge of customs operations”.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall today said instead of seeking to point an accusing finger at border patrol officers for rising gun violence by placing cameras at the ports of entry, Government should first examine its economic policies.

It was an obvious reference to charges by Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith that customs officers were allowing illegal guns into the country either wittingly or unwittingly, and a recent announcement by Brathwaite that customs officers would soon be made to undergo lie detector tests as part of Government’s fight against crime.

McDowall told Barbados TODAY that while the union was not opposed to the use of cameras at the ports there must first be discussion on the matter.

“This matter has not been discussed since 2003, and presently there is no proposal before the union for the use of cameras in the port. So that needs to happen first.

“Once that is in place we can look at establishing a protocol for the use of cameras – a protocol that ensures the safety of not only our customs officers but of all officers in the ports. So that needs to happen first. The union will not agree to anything that will put the lives of those custom officers at risk. They have loved ones just like anyone else,” he said.

McDowall also suggested that Government’s austerity measures should be examined since they could be a cause for rising crime. 

43 Responses to Comissiong: Crime plan must not trample Bajans’ rights

  1. Saga Boy September 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    You see why we have problems? We wants guns off the street and he wants to push back the police force.

  2. John Everatt September 13, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Video cameras in the ports are a good idea and this has been bantered around for many years here. I do see the concerns of the customs officials though and these are valid. It would have to be a very secure group that has control over these cameras and I would suggest that a company from North America or GB who already is doing this sort of work be hired to have control. They could then rotate staff so as to avoid any corruption from taking place.

    • Rasta wain September 14, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      why not Cuba or Zimbabwe?

  3. Ossie Moore September 14, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I did not see eye to eye with you a couple of weeks ago Saga boy but I do agree with you this time.

    David Comissiong has put his feet in his mouth .. . right up to his knees on this one . The guy is now speaking out both sides of his mouth and that’s why buhbaydus will continue to be an F’d up 2 x 4 piece of banana republic.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 1:30 am

      @Ossie Moore/Saga Boy; are you the real Ossie and Saga Boy, do you have a brain? Stuart has a law degree and he was the AG., he knows very well that in a democracy, people has rights and if the two of you believe that this stupid man can trample the rights of people, it shows that education is not common sense and a Cave Hill law degree is a waste of time.

  4. The Negrocrat September 14, 2017 at 12:30 am

    @ Saga, and Ossie Moore. You guys need to understand that no administration or law enforcement agency is above the constitution. Therefore they should not be allowed to trample on the rights of the citizens. Let the police do they work. circumventing the law is not the only option of getting guns off the streets.

  5. Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

    Them first two lines sound just like the police tactics in USA and uk. I hope this go for every body. Too much slimy fish in this place.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 1:43 am

      @Jennifer; speak about the UK that you lived in and not the US. Where in the UK or Barbados that 6 detectives barge into same one`s home with out ID themselves as was alleged, got shot up and the accused won the case, so Stuart could send in his police like thieves in the night as he said and maybe they will get what they`re looking for.

  6. Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Well said commi. This people like a chair with irregular legs. The poodle hair want combing and the goats on the height of the mounting eating, while the sheep tie out at the bottom of the hill bleating.

    • Sherlock Holmes. September 14, 2017 at 6:05 am

      You are drinking the wrong kind of tea up there Jennifer your statements are becoming more and more outlandish.

      • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 6:34 am

        Say what you like this people going right back to the start. I do not lick boots either.

        • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 6:39 am

          Sherlock – I know my identity. so my outlandishness as has a root.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 2:03 am

      @Jennifer; the garbage that you put out I can never understand, Stuart does the same when he decides to speak, here you speak of irregular chair legs, poodle, goats and sheep when the topic is about violating the rights of the people.

  7. JP Sayers
    JP Sayers September 14, 2017 at 4:43 am


  8. Sherlock Holmes. September 14, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I was expecting this from him the other one will have his say soon as well. These people behave like apologist for the criminal element i don’t know why he just do not go and live in the country he loves so much.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 2:22 am

      @Sherlock Holmes. it seems that most bajans would be very comfortable living under dictatorship rule than a democracy. You have yet to free yourselves of the slave mentality. Comissiong is trying so hard to educate you all about your rights and you want to send him to Cuba which has produced top class doctors and other professionals while Barbados putting a bunch of no good lawyers every year that serves no purpose.

  9. Greengiant September 14, 2017 at 6:29 am

    So if they trample the rights of citizens you will get some more exercise climbing the steps of the supreme court. As for you Mr. McDowald, you run the union let the government run the ports of entry. Let the cameras role, if you have a problem then you can get David to climb the steps in Whitepark road for you. I’m sure the majority of Barbadians disagree with you, and if in doubt,
    ” you can call out the workers, and get your business owners, fellow trade union members, the opposition members and the rest of the public to march with you in protest of the cameras”. Come on government put them to the test, let Barbadians see who is who.

  10. harry turnover September 14, 2017 at 6:38 am

    ….and there he goes again fooling some Bajans that he is looking out for their welfare.
    Comissiong is the biggest obstacle in Bdos’ progress all because he wanted to be a Minister with DEM but was rejected by Sandy and others.
    As I have previously stated he is just a rejected,dejected and frustrated man whose plans of becoming somebody under DEM were dashed and now wants to stall ANY progress he sees that the Island could make.

  11. Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 6:42 am

    This people need UN-tieing from their pop down state.

  12. Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 6:49 am

    All of this crime situation is yet another sub problem from the main problem. yet again.

  13. Ras Small
    Ras Small September 14, 2017 at 8:12 am

    It will trample “certain” Bajan’s right, wen dat time cums.

  14. Peter Thompson September 14, 2017 at 8:34 am

    harry turnover,
    “HE IS OPPOSED TO ANY GOVERNMENT THAT IS IN POWER” because he stands on principle, not as a political yardfowl.

  15. Peter Thompson September 14, 2017 at 8:36 am

    What part of unconstitutional do you people not understand?

    • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Ok. Well said Peter. This people CANNOT Think MAJOR at all. Only minor. WE AS AN UNDER PRIVILEGE PEOPLE NEED THIS BATTLE AXE.

  16. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose September 14, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Eye murders didn’t those at the end of it have their rights trampled I: e the right to live you sir need to sh t your mouth. Kaos is up on us the time for weasleing is over! its social and educational elites such as you who help usher in this dark period of violence with your hands off and don’t treat them bad attitudes.
    Are you proud of your work look at the results of the hands off my rights abdication, death, drugs and gangs and a complete decline in social order, now pontificate about that Sir.

  17. ks September 14, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Mr. Comissiong is always trying to come across as if he is the champion of the poor, the oppressed, etc., & everytime he opens his mouth, the media gives him lots of “air-time”.

    We have more important & pressing matters to read & discuss about our island than his opinions …. and there are a lot more wise & respected women & men in our society who could be interviewed & highlighted. Why do they keep pushing his utterances in our face? He will never convert us to his ‘commie-socialists’ views so, please, let us hear from others…… Venezuela need him, someone give him an airline ticket!!!

  18. charjoy September 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

    @Peter Thompson…They don’t get it. They saw two words in the article; David Comissiong and all rationale, common sense and dignity exited left. Sovereign democracies do not enact those types of regressive laws to allow police to run board people indiscriminately…..slave like mentality.

    • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Charjoy – lol. Correct. They putting us slowly back under massa, but now a black lot.

  19. jrsmith September 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I am not concern about people homes being search , or people being stop and search, its about time the politicians do something worth while , my real concern would this be a level playing field, blacks ,whites , greens and blues…… evah body would be under pressures getting search ……………………………….

    • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      @Jrsmith – There is or never was or ever will be any kind of level playing field in this place dear.

  20. Kathy September 14, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Here we go again. I wonder how this gentleman sleeps at night because he certainly don’t seem to have the best interest of Barbados at heart. He seems to stay up late thinking how many ways he can stop progress in Barbados.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 2:46 am

      @Kathy; progress for you and some others seems to be the whip and chain. Have the black bajans free their minds of being treated as if they`re still owned by the black massa. Comissiong is the one of the better learned attorneys in Barbados while the others are fighting to get in with the elite to survive.

  21. Sonia Small
    Sonia Small September 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    He don’t shut up at all omg

  22. Sue Donym September 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Somebody please explain to me what is wrong with what Mr Comissiong said… except that he’s the person that said it!
    Guess it’s time to get rid of the complaints office or any methods of investigating possible misconduct. Who’s going to tell all those red-eyed whiners and suspects claiming internal injuries that they probably imagined the whole abuse thing?

    But true to form, many people don’t care about right until it’s theirs violated.

  23. Johnathan September 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Sherlock Hol es and the other iliterates like the Attorney General always try to shoot down the messages espesially when they cannot affect the message. Had it not been for the same Mr. Commissong bajans would be getting finger printed every time they come to their home land. We have to fight crime but this idiot knows nothing about what he speaks and can acheive nothing during his tenure. Can the idiot Sherlock Holmes what he has achieved in the form of progressive legislation in the past 8 years as this country’s so called Attorney General.
    Mr. Commissong is totally correct again. Can you imagine a police officer just getting a warrant because he knows your name and address and walking into your house when you have never ever even thought about committing a crime. Sherlock Holmes and his Saga boy friends should be the first they walk in on and search. Then we will hear a different story.
    The idiot needs to sit with the Commissioner who was telling him all along the guns sre coming through the port and he bpgave no support but now that the COP is proven correct and he looks ignorant as usual he is trying to redeem himself. Lucky he has only six months to play bully on the pasture.

    • Jennifer September 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      @Sue and Johnathan – well said. When some of this said idiots who want this get their pi$$ kicked in or their family doors on suspicion, then they will sing a different tune. And this is will be another flag ship for more deprivement of civil liberties also.

    • hcalndre September 15, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Johnathan; Is this a people that`s trying to fool the world that Barbados has a 98% literacy? With the Saga Boys, Ossie Moores, the PM., the AG, and many others that will sit by and accused Comissiong for holding back the progress of Barbados when its clear to see that the bunch of people they have elected are the culprits.

  24. tedd September 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    to accept police searching someone’s property without a warrant is looking to setup a gestapo. so do we out of fear setup a gestapo or have we forgotten history. Then maybe we should seek to have a purge of the undesirables, we should remember what history said about these things.

    civil liberties are vital to ensure freedom and democracy.

  25. Sue Donym September 14, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Sadly, @Johnathan, the potential for abuse is worse when a malicious search could be done without any warrant. Unless it’s a clear emergency, some minimum standard of supporting evidence should be required – except cases of hot pursuit. An informant (appropriately documented), recent surveillance, something!

  26. john jochum September 14, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    To those who are quick to point fingers at Cuba, I have spent time in Havana, and have found it to be SAFE and those responsible for policing, to be polite, friendly, and respectful of their fellow-person. In this respect, it is also no different from Singapore where crime is very low ,and where there is no question as to the vibrancy of its democratic institutions.
    I have tried so see where David Commissiong has advocated abrogation or denial of anyone’s rights a la Duterte. It does not appear that he is suggesting that people “accept police searching someone’s property etc., without a warrant’ or, in short, that ‘the police be a law unto themselves.’ It would appear that he is mindful that “civil liberties are vital to ensure freedom and democracy”. How else would anyone explain his position and successful opposition to “Bajans getting finger-printed every time they return to their homeland ” ?
    Are we to reject the benefits of modern technology…e.g audio and video,radar and other recording equipment… which have become so important in the prosecution of those who are criminally bent ?
    Crime, serious crime, is at an all-time high and continues to worsen! Let’s stop blaming people ‘from over and away’. Let’s stop the unjustifiable criticism of those who advance ideas…especially positive ideas.Some serious measures …political, social, and economic measures… have to be
    taken ! SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE !!!

  27. L King September 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Cuba is a communist country hence why there is a low crime rate – the citizens have little right in and out of the judicial system.

    Well said Comissiong I respect you a whole lot – a fearless man that cares about the rights of the every day man. God bless you.

  28. Greengiant September 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Where was Comissiong when the Arthur administration use the said former Bridge and Harbor Station property as collateral for the foreign the exchange loan from the Regional bank and never repaid the money? Now the bank sold the land to a private buyer, and they wish to get on with their project he wants to obstruct the process. I would understand if you as a professional in this field was bringing the injunction, maybe your association, but your comment now makes it clearer that David is really supporting Goliath and not fighting him.@ Peter Thompson

  29. Tony Waterman September 18, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite today announced at the third quarterly general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Hilton Barbados Resort that Government would implement a series of measures to tackle the island’s crippling crime rate.

    Among these is a plan to give police the power to search people’s properties even if there is no suspicion of a crime.

    “As an attorney-at-law and a citizen of this country, I would be severely opposed to any idea that an officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force could enter the home of a Barbadian citizen and search it without just cause and without having a requisite search warrant.”

    In an attempt to further wrestle the crime situation, Brathwaite said Government intended to allow police officers additional powers to carry out searches. However, he quickly acknowledged that such a move would have to be executed in such a way so as not to breach individuals’ rights.

    “The law now allows police to stop and search individuals on suspicion that the individual has either committed an offense or is about to commit an offense. We have given the chief parliamentary council instruction to look to see how we can broaden the police power not only to stop and search, but to search individual properties even without reason of suspicion.

    Ag. Brathwaite, as a QC, you are NOT very Smart, and does NOT seem to know what is written in our SUPREME LAW “The Constitution of Barbados”

    Chapter III:-Protection against arbitrary search or entry.
    17.1. Except with his own consent, no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises.

    2.Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required – the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town or country planning the development or utilization of mineral resources, or the development or utilization of any other property in such manner as to promote the public benefit;

    b.for the purposes of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons;

    c.for the purposes of authorizing an officer or agent of the Government, or of a local government authority or of a body corporate established directly by law for public purposes to enter on the premises of any person in order to inspect those premises or anything thereon for the purposes of any tax, duty, rate, cess or other impost or in order to carry out work connected with any property that is lawfully on those premises and that belongs to the Government or that authority or body corporate, as the case may be;

    d.for the purposes of authorizing the entry upon any premises in pursuance of an order of a court for the purpose of enforcing the judgment or order of a court in any proceedings; or

    e.for the purpose of authorizing the entry upon any premises for the purpose of preventing or detecting criminal offenses.

    Where Sir in that Section of OUR CONSTITUTION are Police NOW allowed to stop and Search people without “REASONABLE AND/OR PROBABLE CAUSE”as you are claiming ???

    “It is a very dicey area of the law because you have the constitutional rights to property and we still have to ensure that we protect individuals’ rights . . . . So you have to ensure that there is a balance that in fact the police are given powers to enable them to readily carry out their responsibilities, but that people’s constitutional rights are not infringed. That notwithstanding, we are going to increase police powers to stop and search within our constitutional framework,” the attorney general said.

    Sir!!! You cannot taae it upon yourself to take away your Citizens CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS oa a whim and Fancy. NO, NO, NO.


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