“Come David, let’s go and swim towards the sea of happiness with the other strongmen!”
According to a story entitled “One Force” in the Nation on December 5th, 2007, Chief Justice Sir David Simmons would like to amalgamate the military and police of Barbados. Here is a quote from “One Force”: “There is no longer any “good and overwhelming reason” to separate operations between the defence and police forces in the region, says Chief Justice Sir David Simmons.”
This is alarming news. Soldiers are trained to kill, while police are trained to protect and serve. The Police Department is under the Attorney General, who is a politician. The Barbados Defence Force is under the Prime Minister, who is a politician. How did the Chief Justice insert himself into this matter?
Barbadians should be even more alarmed by his statement “Effective responses require a mix of governmental policies and police strategies.” If the government of Barbados takes further control of the police, Barbados could become a police state! And when the head of the Barbadian justice system becomes involved in police and military matters, the system of checks and balances becomes non-existent.
Separate Branches of Government
There are several problems with the words of the Chief Justice. The police should be under the control of the Attorney General, and the military under the control of the Prime Minister. And the Chief Justice is not officially supposed to be a politician. So why would Sir David even make this statement, and what role do the Courts play in the police and defense forces? The following paragraph may be of some assistance in explaining these matters.
Police State - Wikipedia Definition and Relevance
“The term police state is a term for a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population, especially by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.”
Read the last sentence VERY carefully. It is saying that in a police state there is little distinction between the law (judges) and the politicians (legislature). Sound familiar anyone?
Who Will be in Charge of this Military/Police Force?
Who is going to be in charge of these soldiers/policemen? The Constitution would suggest either the Prime Minister or the Attorney General. Will it be little “strongman” Owen Arthur or will it be Dale Marshall? (The same Dale Marshall who recently announced that convicted criminals will now be allowed to be civil servants.)
The Constitution tells us that the Attorney General has a dual role. As a Member of Government he has a political role, but as the person in charge of the police he is the guardian of the public interest. Should he be given unchallengeable military powers?
Who sent the Barbados Defense Force soldiers in 1990 to confiscate over 160 bales of cotton as well as half a dozen tractors, vans and jeeps from the office and warehouse of Nitin Amersey in October 1990? Note that the army was sent in to do a police job. Was it the Attorney General, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice or someone else? Was this a conflict between different branches of Government?
Away from Democracy
All the major principles of democracy require a separate police and military, and neither one should be under the control of the Chief Justice! The Chief Justice is supposed to uphold the Constitution. If it can be confirmed that Simmons has acted improperly, then Keltruth Corp. feels that the Governor-General, Sir Clifford Husbands, should intervene and impeach the Chief Justice.