Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Gordon Robinson | Don't ban Shane, ban the Queen!

Published:Tuesday | November 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

If nothing else, surely, the Shane Alexis preckeh has underlined the urgency for radical constitutional restructuring?

Shane Alexis (oops, sorry, 'Doctor' Shane Alexis) can claim credit for the effect his laissez-faire attitude towards Jamaican citizenship has had on our political discussion. Suddenly, Delroy Chuck sees the need for constitutional change. Congratulations, Shane. No doubt, Delroy will soon be piloting the 'Sugar Shane' Constitutional Amendment Bill to keep non-Jamaicans out of Gordon House.

But he needn't worry. In my opinion, the Constitution already flags sugar as unhealthy and disqualifies anybody whose allegiance to a foreign country, including Commonwealth countries, is proactively pledged. What's nauseating is how clearly Chuck sees the urgency for this change in the heat of a by-election campaign but doesn't see or feel the urgency in abolishing the Queen as head of state; the governor general as her expensive, embarrassing reminder of colonialism; the appointments of knights of the realm who must bow to the Queen to be knighted; and leaders at the professional Bar as Queen's Counsel, despite the fact that NONE of these eminent lawyers have ever been asked by Queen or King for counsel.

When will we banish Westminster [a system crafted to suit a benevolent dictator ('monarch') to allow subjects to pretend they have a civilian government] from our Parliament and instead create our own real democracy? When will Jamaican voters be permitted the parliamentary representative AND the government of their choice?

Suppose I want Delroy Chuck as my MP, but Peter Phillips as my PM? Or suppose I want Julian Robinson as my MP, but Andrew Holness as my PM? Do I have the right to make these personal choices under our current system of 'democracy'? Of course, not! "Put your 'X' beside the bell (or head)" is my only choice. I'm not free. I must obey.

When will we abandon Nicodemus governance, whereby party hacks are placed in charge of vital agencies (despite their complete incompetence or unsuitability) by two-line letters written by a minister who was himself/herself appointed in secret at his/her party leader's whim with zero supervision on behalf of Jamaica's voters? THIS is the root of Jamaica's endemic corruption. No checks on, or balances to, executive power means laws passed without question, based on political urgencies; ministries run by ministers instead of permanent secretaries, who are terrified of losing what used to be 'permanent' posts; and statutory bodies operated like political fiefdoms, with 'jobs for the boys' prioritised and corruption their daily bread.

Board members attend meetings for the fee and free food and then pack up leftovers in tin foil to take home, while ignoring every important decision taken at the actual meeting in accordance with whatever instruction is sent by minister. Any civil servant who objects can be fired by secretly appointed political appointees (Staff Orders be damned), with no recourse unless they have endless time and cash to waste on a justice system that features every imaginable shiny toy except justice.




For example, I've been warning governments for years about the corrupt system of licensed firearms. I've begged this Government, in particular, to disarm the citizenry as one precursor to any viable crime plan. On July 31, 2016 ('No microwave fixes for crime'), I wrote:

"Want to stem gun crime? Really? Seriously? The surest way to stem gun crime WITHOUT INFRINGING ONE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT is to make possession of guns by ordinary citizens unlawful across the board. Only police should carry guns.

The problem, of course, is this'll severely cramp many MPs' bird-shooting season; crimp many a gun club's style; and seize from thousands of cowards the underpinning of their braggadocio, bravery, and general badmanship. Without their gun, how'll they impress girls? They'll have to use personal cannons."

Over a year later, on July 30, 2017, I wrote of three priorities that needed addressing without which no 'crime plan' would work:

- "JCF is terminally corrupt;

- JCF is woefully underfunded, underequipped and undertrained;

- Jamaica's presumptuous policy permitting citizens to own licensed firearms only creates another, simpler source of guns for criminals."

Eventually, Government was forced to admit the process of granting licences for firearms was pandemically corrupt. What did Government do about it? It changed some members of the Firearms Licensing Authority Board. DWL! It's back to business as usual.

No, Delroy, we don't need Sugar Shane constitutional amendments. Voters will spit out any future sugary offerings. We need JUSTICE. We need DEMOCRACY. Do you plan to attend to those?

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.