07 October, 2007

Patriotism

Patriotism is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel. So pronounced Samuel Johnson, the British lexicographer. I read a story on the Barbados Free Press today [link here]. It was about how Ministers of Government in Bridgetown use “patriotism” to silence their critics. It rang a bell with me. I never thought it was possible in Barbados. Not only is it possible. We learn that recently Barbados Government Ministers have taken steps to suppress free speech and opposition. Government Ministers now openly threaten citizens who ask reasonable questions about the lack of accountability and transparency and the conflicts of interest that make overnight millionaires of elected representatives. On the Barbados Labour Party Blog [link here], and in the Nation News [link here], citizens are being told that they should remain quiet about corruption in the Barbados government. The explanation given in the two links above? To publicly speak about government corruption is “unpatriotic”!

Thank heavens nothing like that can happen in Anguilla! We don’t have corruption at Ministerial level.

Compare that with the story from the Cayman Islands about the Ombudsman investigating a complaint against a Minister [link here]. Cayman Net News has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against Minister Charles Clifford for cancelling freight arrangements for the paper’s newsprint from Miami. The reason? The paper has been printing articles critical of the Minister [link here]. The Minister has retaliated against the paper by making it difficult for them to get newsprint. Nothing like that could happen here in Anguilla. Our papers don’t print articles critical of any Minister! It also helps that we do not have an Ombudsman. So, we cannot complain even if we wanted to!


4 comments:

  1. http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB118426754160764945.html

    -----
    The Wall Street Journal


    PAGE ONE

    On St. Croix,
    Senators Feel Heat
    Over a Pay Increase
    Mainlander's Radio Show
    Stirs Up Political Scene;
    FCC Gets Drawn Into Spat

    By CONOR DOUGHERTY

    July 13, 2007; Page A1

    ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Roger W. Morgan is of modest height, a little pudgy, and on a recent morning his workday uniform consisted of shorts, sandals and a flower-print shirt. He doesn't look like a revolutionary, but a group of Virgin Islands senators say he's that kind of threat.

    A few months ago, the 64-year-old Mr. Morgan and listeners to his radio call-in show, "Free Speech," led an unsuccessful effort to recall four St. Croix senators after the senate voted itself a 31% pay increase. Since then, one senator has accused Mr. Morgan of leading an attempt to overthrow the Virgin Islands government. Another suggested Mr. Morgan is a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, the senators are asking the Federal Communications Commission to block Mr. Morgan's proposed purchase of WYAC-FM 93.5, the station that broadcasts his show.
    -----

    The St. Croix Senate has its (literally collective) underpants in a twist because of a retired mainlander's talk-radio show.

    It seems the FCC keeps telling them there's this thing called the first amendment that prevents them from simply shutting the radio station down every time its listeners hoot derisively about the prospect of Senate voting itself yet another pay raise.


    Paradoxically, in the US Constitution, the explicit rights of the so-called "bill of rights" is, in fact, *implicit* in the rest of the document to begin with. IIRC, Jefferson, in Paris at the time, nonetheless asked Madison to write it up and attach it to the constitution as it was being ratified by the states as a hedge against potential future judicial activism.

    Somewhere, the gods of liberty -- or at least of champerty :-) -- are laughing up their (figuratively collective) sleeve at Mr. Jefferson's vain attempts to combat government overreach disguised as "social progress", of course. But it's something to consider for Anguillians who think that their own list of enumerated rights is a prima facie defense of their own freedom from the depredations of their political class. Like in the US at present, a mere list of enumerated rights eventually becomes a noose with which to hang freedom from its own tree of liberty.

    The only way to ensure freedom is to simply be free. To act like free people. Something that Anguillians have been experts at throughout the centuries.

    And the ultimate way to prevent political corruption is to not give corrupt politicians power to begin with. Again, paradoxically, that means not letting them pass so many laws and regulations that it becomes cheaper to pay some government functionary off than it does to adhere to the law.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you aware that both the so-called "Barbados Free Press" and "Barbados Underground" are nothing more than smear machines which daily pump out nothing but LIES about the government and people of Barbados?

    Are you aware that the so-called "Barbados Free Press" blog routinely suppresses the freedom of speech of anyone who tries to speak the truth on that blog?

    Are you aware that Barbados Free Press is a blog devoted to LIES, FRAUD and DECEPTION?

    Are you aware that there are loyal Barbadians patriots who are highly offended by the rubbish posted on Barbados Free Press, and that we will do all in our power to put a stop to their nonsense?

    www.barbadosfreepressexposed.wordpress.com

    Finally, Mr. Don Mitchell, you look very much like Mr. Adrian Loveridge who has moved to Barbados from teh United Kingdom.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Straight talk (B'dos)October 07, 2007 6:25 pm

    You see, from the above government yardfowl's comment, what the Bajan public have to endure if they attempt to enjoy a discussion their elected government believes is unpatriotic.
    i.e. Free people advocating free speech.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you would like some documentation on a current case involving the PM and the Chief Justice of Barbados you are welcome at keltruthblog.com

    ReplyDelete

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