01 June, 2010


Restrictions on the right to freedom of movement:  We are looking at our constitutionally protected right to freedom of movement throughout and into and out of Anguilla. Of course, as you will imagine, there are several exceptions.
Section 5(2) provides one.  It says that if we have been arrested and charged with an offence, the Magistrate in granting bail may lawfully restrict our freedom of movement.  She may even make it a condition of our bail that we surrender our passport. 
Such a restriction on our freedom of movement when we are out on bail is permitted by the Constitution.
The Constitution permits a law to be made in a whole raft of additional instances where it would be lawful for the government to restrict our movement.
The first instance is when, in time of war, restrictions may be necessary in the interests of defence.  So, in England, under the Defence of the Realm Act, people were restricted from travel during the Second World War.  West Indians, as part of the British Colonies of the time, also had restrictions on travel.  Our parents and grandparents had to get special visas to travel in and out of the islands.
Another example of government being permitted to restrict our travel occurs in time of a declaration of a state of emergency, for example, due to a hurricane or earthquake, or volcanic eruption.  Once a state of emergency is declared it will be lawful, if it is authorised by the relevant Act, for travel to be restricted.  This usually comes under the heading of restricting travel in the interests of public safety.  Those of us who have travelled to our sister island of Montserrat know that was done there.  The Montserratian government passed a law which permitted them to declare an exclusion zone over approximately half of the island.  Anyone going into the exclusion zone without permission is in breach of the law, and can be convicted and punished for doing so.  If the state of emergency is due to political or economic disturbances, it may again be necessary in the interests of public order to restrict travel.  The Constitution permits this to be done.
The third exception to the right to freedom of movement applies to people who are not belongers of Anguilla.  Non-belongers have no right to expect freedom to move into our out of Anguilla as they wish.  The Constitution permits the Anguilla House of Assembly to make laws that place restrictions on the movement or residence in Anguilla of persons who do not belong to Anguilla, or even of excluding them from Anguilla.  It is this constitutional exception that permits the government to enforce laws such as the Immigration Act, with work permit regulations and residence regulations.  These do not apply to Anguillians, but only to non-belongers.  

1 comment:

  1. In today’s, you referred to Anguillian citizenship. Please know that the term, belonger, is new, obfuscatory and confusing and well as esthetically ugly to me, failing as I does to inform me a, native, whether I am
    a citizen of Anguilla,
    a subject of same,
    a citizen of the United Kingdom,
    a subject of same,
    a citizen of the European Union,
    a territorial citizen.
    A territorial subject or
    none of the above.

    At one time I knew exactly what I was, a British subject. Today I know not what the hell I am save some transmogrified entity termed belonger.


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