12 September, 2010

Montserrat 9

There is no intention to entrench the Ombudsman in the new Montserrat Constitution.  The section 104-105 provisions relating to the Ombudsman are most unsatisfactory.  The office is not to be constituted by the Constitution but is left for a law, which may or may not be passed, to do so. 
This supervisory officer of the Legislature is one of the most important watchdog institutions that a free people can ever have.  The people of the British Overseas Territories in the West Indies have been exposed to arbitrary and despotic decisions by government departments for decades.  Without the resources to fund a High Court action, the victims have been without remedy. 
This office is generally recognized as one of the most liberating that a Constitution can provide.  The Constitution should establish the office and set out his functions, tenure and immunities in the usual way, as exemplified by the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.
If the Ombudsman has so low a priority in the collective mind of the legal advisers to the FCO, what hope can we in Anguilla have that it will have a higher priority when the FCO gets around to putting pressure on the Anguilla Government to move forward on constitutional reform?

1 comment:

  1. Another way to help make legal services affordable is to allow class action cases. If, for example, Cable & Wireless owes EC$40 to a thousand people, none of us can afford to hire a lawyer to recover our $40. Why is there resistance to allowing class action suits?


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