15 April, 2010


States of emergency.  We have been looking at the exceptions to the constitutional right to freedom of the person.  There remains one other provision that allows the government to lock us up and deprive us of our right to personal liberty.  It is found hidden away in section 14 of the Constitution.  This is the emergency powers section.  The section says that nothing done under the emergency powers laws is to be deemed a breach of this right, to the extent that the law authorises the taking during any period of public emergency of measures that are reasonably justifiable for dealing with the situation during the period of emergency. 
The law in question is the Emergency Powers Act.  This law permits the Governor in specified circumstances to declare a state of emergency that in effect suspends some of our fundamental rights.  To be lawful the declaration must be published by a proclamation in the Official Gazette.  The Governor may declare that a state of emergency exists when a state of war arises, or as a result of an earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, outbreak of pestilence, infectious disease or any other calamity.  It may also arise when any person or body of persons take action of such a nature as to be likely to endanger the public safety or public order, eg, rioting breaks out.
When the Governor declares that a state of emergency exists he is authorised to make Regulations that provide for the detention of persons and their deportation and exclusion from Anguilla, without regard to the constitutional protections.  The Regulations may authorise the seizing of any property or the entering and search of any premises without following the constitutional protections.  The declaration lapses at the end of 90 days if the Governor has not previously revoked them by a proclamation published in the Gazette. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.