I receive my first ever warning from the police. There is a popular remedy or relief available to any person in
So, what was my alleged crime? The warning was to the effect that Lolita Richardson had made a formal complaint at the Police Station. She had complained that I had slandered her name on the Elkin Richardson radio show, “To the Point”. I was warned. I thanked the police officer who delivered the warning to me.
And, to think that I was under the impression that what I said on the radio programme was meant to preserve her name. This is my recollection of what happened.
On the Friday, Elkin had called me on the telephone. He had told me that he had obtained a copy of the proposed new constitution for
Regular readers of this Blog will recall the sequence of events. In the period January to August 2006, the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission had worked with the Anguillian public on preparing recommendations for the reform of the Constitution of Anguilla. In August 2006, the Commission had published its Report. Subsequently, the Chief Minister had established a Chief Minister’s Committee. This had spent several months reviewing and discussing the Report. After much discussion, the Committee had come up with a number of amendments of its own. They had then decided that they would prefer to see in print what the finished product of what they had approved would look like. A written draft of the proposed new Constitution would make it easier to discuss the recommendations with the public. They would have something in their hands that they could refer to.
The Chief Minister had consequently given Lolita Richardson her instructions. She was to prepare a draft Constitution. It was intended for circulation to the public and for general discussion. She was to incorporate in the draft (a) the recommendations of the Commission, together with (b) such amendments as the Chief Minister’s Committee had approved. The main amendment that the Chief Minister’s Committee had come up with was that
Mrs Richardson had proceeded to prepare an initial draft constitution. This draft had been further reviewed by the Chief Minister’s Committee for several more months. No member of the public saw a copy of it during the several months it was under discussion. The Committee, we must assume, had made a number of further amendments to Mrs Richardson’s draft. Eventually, as we understood it, Mrs Richardson had incorporated the corrections. She had delivered a finished product to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister had called a press conference. He had with much fanfare officially handed it over to the Attorney-General. The A-G’s instructions were to publish the draft to the public for discussion.
Since the hand-over some months ago, we have been waiting for the promised publication. To this day, you cannot obtain a copy of the draft that was handed to the A-G. It must be some sort of State secret. So, I was excited about the opportunity I was being offered to see it. Elkin asked me if I could study it and appear on his show on the following Monday and give my views on it. I was happy to agree. [This call-in radio programme on the radio station Kool FM takes place every Monday evening at 7:30 pm, approximately. There are often interesting speakers on the programme. You should tune in. The link above even permits live streaming to anywhere in the world].
I collected the document from Elkin. He told me he had got it from an official source. He had been assured that it was the final draft that the A-G was supposed to publish to the public. I read it as promised. I compared its contents paragraph by paragraph with the 2006 Report of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission. On the following Monday evening, I turned up at the radio station. That Monday evening, I duly gave the listening public my impressions about the document. As I recall, they were, and are, principally these:
1. The draft was very disappointing in that it contained less than half of the recommendations made by the Commission and accepted by the Chief Minister’s Committee.
2. The draft was objectionable in that it included the exact opposite of some of the recommendations made by the Commission and approved by the Committee.
3. The draft could not be a final draft. It was filled with so many typing errors, grammatical mistakes, and contradictions, that it must be a very early, uncorrected draft. It could not be the finished draft. The document appeared to be really a very amateurish effort. I do not believe that Mrs Richardson would have permitted such a rough draft to be submitted to the A-G’s Chambers as a finished product. Another reason why the document I was shown could not be a finished product was that the initial draft had gone through month after month of discussions among the Chief Minister’s Committee. This Committee had included some of the most powerful and some of the most highly educated government officers in
Now, tell me what was so objectionable in what I said!
Elkin tells me that he received a similar warning from the police as the one I got. His theory for this bizarre incident is that Mrs Richardson could not have heard the radio show herself. She must have missed listening to it, and relied on a skewed account of it given to her by some mischief-maker.
I accept that as a possibility. I forgive Mrs Richardson. But, she should know by now not to believe everything she is told in