PM: Sue us!

PM tells critics of Police Amendment Act to take it to court

Barbadians who are concerned about the newly approved Police (Amendment) Act are being encouraged to challenge it in a court of law.

This admonition from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last night during an address to Democratic Labour Party (DLP) faithful at a joint meeting of St Michael branches at the Eden Lodge Primary School.

Stuart charged that some people were seeking to stir public alarm instead of going through the only institution capable of ruling on the constitutionality of the legislation.

“Every legislation we have tried to pass has been accused of being unconstitutional. None of that unnerves me because I have heard all of this already. First of all the only institution in Barbados or in any other part of the western world that can determine if a piece of legislation is unconstitutional is a court. No individual could stand up and declare that a piece of legislation is unconstitutional,” Stuart said.

The contentious legislation, which was approved by the Senate last week, has sparked fears among some Barbadians, including the Bar Association and social activist David Comissiong, that lawmen would abuse the powers that they have been given under the measure, particularly against residents of the more deprived communities.

Comissiong has already hinted at the possibility of challenging the legislation in court.

However, Stuart warned that history and precedent were on Government’s side as it relates to such a challenge.

“I heard all of this talk in 1974 when Errol Barrow amended the constitution itself. I heard this talk when the Public Order Act was amended in 1970. You know, after all of those criticisms, when those critics got into office, the pieces of legislation remained untouched, They were just indulging in political posturing as is happening now. Police always had the right to stop and search at common law and various pieces of legislation. Police cordons are normally because you don’t want crime scenes tampered with and you want evidence preserved,” the Prime Minister stressed.

Stuart further argued that certain criminal elements were currently implementing curfews in their communities, and questioned whether critics of the amended legislation preferred gun-toting criminals to wield such power, instead of the police.

“Whether the critics know it or not Barbadians were under curfew longer than we would like to admit. But not curfew by the police but by the criminal elements with firearms, who have been keeping people off the streets at night. Do we prefer them to do it protecting their own criminal enterprise, or do we want it done by the Royal Barbados Police Force lawfully for the protection of all of us? That is the choice,” Stuart stressed.

13 Responses to PM: Sue us!

  1. Alex Alleyne February 12, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    “Barbadians were under curfew longer than we would like to admit”.
    WHO FAULT IS THAT ? …….The PM & AG. …..all happening under your watch.

    Reply
  2. Mark Rosmar February 13, 2018 at 3:24 am

    Which areas of Barbados? When did this happen? What has been tried to curb it?

    Reply
  3. jrsmith February 13, 2018 at 5:54 am

    See how this man is behaving , after his government has *****d Barbados up.. ( sue us ) no you all need arresting , put this up against the (Audit Generals ) 2 reports ………

    Reply
    • Atman February 13, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      If it was up to me I would line Dem us in front a firing squad.

      Reply
      • Atman February 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        ** line Dem up

        Reply
  4. David Hall February 13, 2018 at 9:09 am

    The PM seldom presents the people of Barbados with any intelligent information with which to gauge his motives. As head of our country his response must be to answer legitimate questions and remove wrong perceptions. Rather the PM is combative and unhelpful.

    Reply
  5. hcalndre February 13, 2018 at 10:43 am

    No one entity should have all the power or no government should either. The legislation passed was done with every DLP senator and members voted for it, in Barbados anyone that votes against anything their party puts on the table, out goes them. None of you politician are going to be affected in your enclaves by lock downs or illegal searches. Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States and he said: “Anyone who gives up his/her liberty for little security deserves neither.”

    Reply
  6. Carson C. Cadogan February 13, 2018 at 11:58 am

    From my Facebook feed:

    “”The amendments to the Police Act introduces some new principles to policing in Barbados.

    1. CORDONING
    The police can now cordon off an area for up to 8 hours after a major incident (vehicle accident or serious crime) to investigate and collect evidence.

    2. CURFEW
    The AG now has the power to order a curfew for up to two days (48 hours) without need for approval from parliament.

    3. ​SPECIAL INVESTIGATION PERIOD
    The AG now has the power to approve a curfew (for the purpose of investigating a crime and collecting evidence) where he has good reason to believe it is necessary.
    During these special investigation periods, policemen have the right to:
    a. Search businesses and residences between 5 am and 8 pm without a search warrant; and,
    b. stop and search any people or vehicles where there is reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed.

    4. CITIZENS’ RIGHT TO RECORD
    On the flip side, citizens now have their right to videotape or photograph ALL interactions with the police clearly spelt out in the Police Act. In fact, a policeman can only carry out the power to search if he ensures that at least one other policeman is present and the owner/occupier of the premises. Additionally any other citizen may also be present.
    Citizens have a right to take photographs and/or videos of police faces and their numbers if they have them on, they also have a right to request that police identify themselves if their number is not visible.
    Citizens can videotape or take pictures of the ENTIRE interaction between themselves and police, unhindered by police. Police are no longer allowed to prohibit recording, they are no longer allowed to stand so as to prevent a citizen from recording their actions.

    5. ​HIGHER FINES FOR SWEARING AT POLICE
    Swearing at a policeman now carries a fine of up to $10,000 in magistrate court. I recommend that you avoid swearing, but I also submit that most of the swearing happens when people feel that their rights are being infringed and they are not allowed to record it.

    CONCLUSION
    When you are approached by a policeman during a special investigation period turn on the video on your mobile phone and ask him to identify himself and state what is the basis of his supposedly reasonable suspicion. Then, record the entire incident. They are not allowed to search two places/areas when you can only record one. You have to be present wherever they are searching.””

    Reply
    • hcalndre February 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      CCC; are you saying that the occupant has to there? the police have a beef with people using their cells so do you believe they will want you to video tape the scenario?, asking a police officer if he/she is a fool or an idiot can cost a person $10,000, is this police law for real? They are plenty bajans out there that their minds are still shackled after 400 years and are still so docile.

      Reply
      • Carson C. Cadogan February 13, 2018 at 6:48 pm

        Obviously you have never been at any raids carried out by the police.

        The police are cursed and vilified by people. If the police were not armed on many occasions then bedlam would occur.

        The police must be respected.

        In the forefront of police disrespect are women. This can not be tolerated forever.

        Reply
  7. Greengiant February 13, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    We will see who is in favor of the health, safety and security of law abiding citizens in Barbados.

    If you are law abiding you need not fear the implementation of these new powers.

    Lawyers want to earn they keep, so their voice will be heard whenever legislation is to be changed. These same lawyers need to spend their hours helping to sort out the backlog in the law courts so Barbadians can get speedy justice delivered. They should all replace parliament with Colridge Street, and Whitepark Road work addresses daily. Tired of seeing them securing their pensions in our parliament.

    Reply
  8. hcalndre February 13, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    @Greengiant; a law abiding citizen could go through the ringer before they know who he/she is with no recourse or compensation in Barbados.

    Reply
  9. Helicopter(8P) February 13, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Citizens’ rights to record and video tape! Now that is certainly tranparency at its best!

    Reply

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