“When the law is against you, rely on the facts. When the facts are against you, rely on the law. When the facts and the law are against you, attack your opponent’s integrity.”
It is only partly a joke. It is a good description of the tactics frequently used by unscrupulous lawyers to confuse the adjudicator. The reason the tactic is used so often is that, transparent though it often is, unethical as it always is, it so often succeeds. Otherwise intelligent people fall for it over and over again. So, I was not surprised when someone anonymously posted a personal attack on me as a “comment” on my latest post below. He or she wrote in part,
“It is quite obvious that you are pro-colonialism. Are you suggesting that
It is a rhetorical question, of course. It does not expect an answer. Its purpose is to attack the loyalty and patriotism of the author of this blog. Accusing a West Indian of being “pro-British” is one of the easiest ways of condemning him in an uncritical public mind. Persons who look at skin-colour and stop thinking may be easily persuaded to believe the worse. The misrepresentation of what I have been warning about needs no comment. It will be transparently clear to anyone who has been reading my posts.
The Westminster-style Constitution traditionally places a minimum of emphasis on creating and installing institutions and mechanisms to secure integrity, transparency and accountability. That system has been described in the past with some justification, because of its lack of checks and balances, as a dictatorship of the Prime Minister. No matter how gentlemanly our present representatives are, we do not know who our government will be in the future. We need a system that will guarantee our freedoms if our future leaders turn out to be not what we expected. We must have a system where increased power in the hands of our ministers is checked by procedures to correct any mischief that might occur. Those twin objectives would have been achieved if the recommendations of the Anguillians contained in the 2006 Report of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission had been implemented.
It is noticeable that the BVI and the TCI have negotiated, just last year, new Constitutions that significantly reduce the power of the FCO to interfere in internal matters and transfer to local institutions most of the powers previously enjoyed by the Governor. But, they neither demanded nor received “full internal self-government”. They are enjoying the benefits of a modern Constitution and a modern relationship with the British. No doubt, when they are ready, they will seek full political independence. But, they recognise they are not ready for it.
The British have said that we must not come to them with a demand for full internal self-government unless we are prepared to accept a short timetable for independence. Our representatives have repeatedly told us that they are not interested in political independence at this time. But, they will demand full internal self-government for
In 2006 the Anguillians said that it was time to reduce the powers of the British in
Will our leaders come to their senses and negotiate for what amounts in practice to full internal self-government, without waving that red flag in the face of the bull? That is what the people said they want.
We patiently await the draft of the promised Constitution. When we see that, we will know whether our leaders are honestly preparing to negotiate in our best interests. Or, we will see whether they are selling us a pig in a poke that will only increase their own powers over us.
Either way, I’ll be sure to tell you what I think.
No more shallow thinking, please.