By Rawlston Pompey
Framers of the Constitution anticipated that those who sworn and pledged Allegiance’ might wish to use Her Majesty’s Parliament to weaken ‘…Her Executive Authority.’ Before this happens, they specifically inserted at Section 68 these words ‘…The Executive Authority of Antigua and Barbuda is vested in Her Majesty’ [Section 68: CO: 1981]. Just the other day two students of the Irene B. Secondary School were said to have been speaking about this and had expressed their aspirations to achieve what Sir Rodney has achieved. Not sure, whether it was the Principal or one of the educators; Oh they may have been speaking to the social commentary on ‘…Education’ by Slinger Francisco, ‘Mighty Sparrow. He sought to inspire learning and urged them not only ‘…to go to school, but learn well.’ He believed that if they did not, they would ‘…catch real hell’ [You Tube]. Though many may not even have heard the encouragement, many of the students knew that as well. Those of parents who had the benefit of the Governor-General’s Mother Irene’s tutelage, said their parents had already told them so.
THREE POINTS SERMON
Dr. David Dorset, a distinguished attorney-at-law, formally trained in theology and a certified Pastor may have to deliver a special Sermon he had delivered to congregants [August 1, 2012], to Parliamentarians and ‘…an affluent sickly-fellow.’ The Indian media have identified him as ‘…Mehul Choski.’ None may claim to be ‘…Paragons of Virtue.’ Whatever, their sins may or may not be, they may find the ‘…Three Points Sermon,’ religiously inspiring. They shall know what ‘…Thus Saith the Lord,’ means. Except to state the three points, there is not much to say but to Read, (i) The Bible; and (ii) …Bills for Enactment.’ Point (i) …There will be Glorious Expectations; (ii) …There will be Generous Compensation.’ Not quite sure what it means, but it sounds frighteningly different; (iii) …There will be Grievous Lamentation’ [Jeremiah 31: 15-17].
This commentary attempts to provide an understanding of the rationale for the enactment of, and ‘…Assent’ to that which appears to have become contentious and controversial, the result of a ‘…Ministerial Decision. The enactment of the highly sensitive Bill, titled the ‘…Prison (Amendment) Act’ was given ‘…Legislative Power’ when ‘…Assent’ may have been mistakenly given, not by the Governor-General as stipulated in the Constitution [Section 52], but by his Deputy Sir Clare K. Roberts KCN, QC who shall (i) …Conform to, and observe instructions addressed to him by the Governor-General; and (ii) …Shall not abridge or alter his authority’ [Section 25 (2): CO: 1981]. It also looks at, (a) …The role of the Governor-General; (b) …Depowering amended Sections in Prison Act: [Section 212: Chapter 341]; (c) …the Dangerous Section 3 in the Amendment’ [No.17 of 2017; (d) …Appointment and role of the Deputy Governor-General; as well as (v) …Certain provisional stipulations, pertinent to their role and functions.’
Students of those parents who attended the ‘…Irene B. Williams Junior Secondary School (IBWJSS),’ know that the ‘…Interpretation Act’ states, ‘…No enactment binds or affects in any manner Her Majesty;’ or …Her rights or prerogatives unless it expressly stated therein that Her Majesty is bound thereby’ [Section 7: Interpretation Act: Chapter 224]. What may have been most instructive may have been a discussion between students, one from the Villa Government School (VGS) and the other, the Buckley’s Government School. Both agreed that there may have things in the ‘…Prison (Amendment) Act [No.17 of 2017], that some of their parliamentary Representatives may not have known when it was ‘…Debated, Passed; and …Assented.’ With sarcasm, the ‘IBWJSS’ student asked, ‘…Who knows everything?’ Then quietly and in a subtle way offered insults by saying ‘Charles Isaac,’ nationally known as ‘Bold Face’ had often said ‘…When yo nah know, yo’ nah know.’
OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
When Sir Clare K. Roberts KCN, an honored ‘…Queen’s Counsel’ and supposedly loyal subjects as have been (i) …Her Majesty’s duly appointed Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams GCMG, KGN, MBBS; (ii) …Honourable Prime Minister Gaston Alfonso Browne PM, MBA, BSc; (iii) …Senate President
Intended not to create mayhem in the brain and heart, framers of the Constitution had not placed in the Constitution ‘…Perils or Consequences.’ However, they knew of the creation and existence of criminal offence called ‘…Treason.’ They also knew that which is commemorated yearly in this nation called ‘…November Night.’ Most citizens may not have given though of its significance in relation to the‘…Plotted assignation by the notorious Guy Fawkes and attempt to kill the reigning King of England. The consequences faced and the fate of the ‘…Failed Gunpowder’ [November 5, 1605], caused to be visited upon himself and his band of plotters the penalty of death. The key words in the Oath of Allegiance are ‘…Faithfulness and Truth.’ These are followed by consequences of Law.’ Cognizance of the serious crime of ‘Treason’ and attendant consequences, likened to all others, hoping not to become ‘…treacherous or disloyal,’ he sought ‘…Divine Guidance.’ Upon the subscription, before Her Majesty’s representative the Governor-General, in earnest he implored, ‘…So Help Me God’ [Oath of Allegiance: CO: Page 78].
GOVERNOR TO GOVERNOR-GENERAL
From colonialism to Associated State in Association with Britain, Her Majesty’s Representative held the titular position as ‘…Governor, ‘now ‘…Governor-General’ [November 1, 1981]. Bills passed in the Parliament are enforced only in the name of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Such law represents ‘…Her Majesty’s constitutionally-conferred Executive Authority’ [Section 68]. Such authority allows for Her Majesty, the Head of State for the nation, ‘…Reigns Supreme.’ Instructively, the exercise of ‘…Executive Authority’ is contingent upon advice tendered by the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne PM, MBA, BSc, who wields ‘…Executive Power.’ This is how it works. When Prime Minister Gaston Browne used his ‘…Power’ and tendered his advice through Her Majesty’s appointed Representative, Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams GCMG, KGN, MBBS to appoint Asot Michael as Tourism Minister, His Excellency, (i) …Acting on such advice; (ii) …in the name of, and on behalf of Her Majesty; (iii) used Her Executive Authority; and (iv) …Appointed Asot Michael as one of Her Majesty’s Ministers of Government.
ASSENTING TO LAWS
Early in law enforcement training, then Commandant of the Training Academy, Sir Wright Fitzhenly George KCN, CVO, QPM, CPM, had inculcated in the minds of those then in training the ‘…Legal Maxim’ that ‘…The Queen can do no wrong (Latin: Rex Non Potest Peccare).’ He explained that as the Head of the Monarchy, without her ‘…Executive Authority’ by ‘…Assenting to Laws’ passed in ‘…Her Majesty’s Parliament,’ they have ‘…No Legislative Power.’ This may have been evident when attempts were made to influence the severing of the jurisprudential umbilical cord with the Judicial Committee of Her Privy Council (JCPC). Therefore, none may presume that Her Majesty, The Queen would suffer or countenance Her Representative, Governor-General, Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams GCMG, KGN, QC, to engage in wrongdoings, particularly as it relates to Her Majesty’s ‘…rights, privileges, discretion and prerogative,’ in exercising Her ‘…Executive Authority.’
RECORD OF APPOINTMENT
There may be absolutely no doubt as to the current position of ‘…Her Majesty’s Representatives.’ Nationally known by Centenarians and Kindergarten students, ‘…Sir Rodney Williams’ has been Her Majesty’s duly appointed ‘…Governor-General.’ He performs on behalf of, and in the name of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Though the Constitution sets out the reasons when a Deputy Governor General, may be appointed. In the quest to find a Royal Designation, or ‘…Record of Appointment’ of Deputy Governor General, Sir Clare Roberts, this was unsuccessful. However, Online research shows that ‘…On 20th August 2014, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of Her Majesty’s Antigua and Barbuda Ministers, conferred Orders for the appointment of Rodney Williams to the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George GCMG.’
Additionally, research has revealed that the most recent appointments of Her Majesty’s Representative for the nation of Antigua and Barbuda appeared in the ‘…Dynastic Order.’ It has revealed two names, ‘…Dame Louise Lake-Tack GCMG, and Sir Rodney Williams GCMG. Both names appeared in numerical order ‘…55  and Number 69 [2007’ were listed thereon. According to organizational and institutional rankings, no inferior or an unauthorized subject may give ‘Assent’ to any Bills other than the person appointed to be Her Majesty’s Loyal Representative. Though the Government rest not in his hand by virtue of the ‘…Executive Authority’ conferred upon, and exercised by Her Majesty through the person duly appointed and accorded the titular status, ‘…Governor-General’ 9Section 68: CO: 1981].
While controversy reigned over other national issues, ‘…Section 212 of the Prison Rules,’ that had triggered a storm. This was due to the contentious ‘…Eight Section; …Three little words, ‘…Governor- General and Minister,’ appears to have been a master-piece of ‘…Drafting Cleverness.’ Had vigilance been employed when debating the ‘Prison (Amendment) Act, and had ‘Section 212’ of the principal ‘Prison Act’ [Chapter 341] was looked at, it may not have necessitated the ‘…Forced Intervention’ of Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Apart from other concerns, private/public/national concerns, he knew that the Governor-General enjoys the ‘…Untouchable Powers,’ either constitutionally-entrenched or statutorily provided. Rightly provided from declarations of the people of Antigua and Barbuda that the Constitution is the ‘…Supreme Law’ and that ‘…any inconsistent law shall be void’ [Section 2: CO. 1981.
When the enacted ‘…Prison (Amendment) Bill-2017,’ and subsequently presented for ‘Assent’ that it may be given ‘…Legislative Power,’ this was what existed in the Constitution. It states for the benefit of students of the ‘…Irene B. Williams Junior Secondary School (IBWJSS) already knew what exists in the Constitution and Governance. They may have been disappointed if every Parliamentarian, the Deputy Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir Clare K. Roberts KCN, QC and Her Majesty’s duly appointed Representative, Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Rodney E. L. Williams GCMG, KGN; MBBS have critical national roles to play. They also knew that ‘…The power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by ‘Bills’ passed by the House and Senate and assented to by the Governor- General on behalf of Her Majesty’ [Section 52: CO: 1981]. It would be understood if the Governor-General, on behalf of Her Majesty and on behalf of his mother ‘…Irene B. Williams’ (deceased educator) had not sufficiently imparted such knowledge to the students.
If for any reason or reasons his Deputy did not comprehend this constitutional provision, then there may have been some difficulties. For instance, if the Governor-General’s Deputy thought or had been led to believe that a ‘…Minister of Government, had become King,’ and ‘Assented’ to a Bill that sought to depower Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors and Her Representative as Head of the Nation, this may not only have created a ‘…Nightmare’ for Sir Rodney, but also positioned him to be seen as treacherous for violating his subscribed ‘…Allegiance to Her Majesty.’ This is premised on that which he had either (a) ‘…Innocently; (b) …Ignorantly; or (c) …Inadvertently’ given Her Majesty’s Royal Assent.’ This may very well cause him what might be considered his ‘…Worst Fears,’ then he may wish to urge Her Majesty’s loyal Parliamentarians to repeal the enactment.
If reasonable inferences might be drawn, it could be so drawn from the apparent ‘…Treasonable Section 3’ of the ‘…Assented Bill,’ now an Act [No.17 of 2017]. To all intents and purposes, it states, ‘…The principal Act is amended in Sections 3A (nowhere in the Act); …4; …5; …6; …9 and 13 by repealing the words ‘…Governor-General where it appears in those Sections and Replacing these words with the word ‘…Minister’ [Prison (Amendment Act): No.17 of 2017]. Likened to House Speaker Sir Gerald and Senate President Alincia Williams-Grant, Sir Clare, presumably acting on instructions of the Governor-General, and on behalf of, and in the name of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, they may not have been aware of the provisions contained in the ‘…Interpretations Act’ [Section 7: Chapter 224].
INNOCENT OR IGNORANT
Clearly those that appeared not to have attended the ‘…Irene B. Williams School at the infancy stage may have lost some golden opportunities. If they were not aware or feigned ignorance, Sir Rodney, though not publicly, might be inclined to say, ‘…My mother Irene, turning in her grave told him in a dream that those who presided and he who assented, appeared reckless not to know.’ Before the House Speaker and Senate President could say, ‘…It has been moved and seconded that the Bill be accepted and passed; …Those in favor say Aye; those against say ‘No.’ Before ‘Sly J’ could say ‘…Oh my mother, Margaret,’ there was the resounding ‘Ayes.’ Then choreographically, the Chair would say, ‘…The Ayes have it.’ With the ‘…Prison (Amendment) Bill,’ most, if not all the legislators, may have been innocent or ignorant of the ‘.Mischief Aimed.’
PRIME MINISTER AND EDUCATION MINISTER
The former argued that Villa is better because it has at least two Radio Stations and a Prime Minister. The latter argued that Buckley’s community has the brightest Minister. He is in charge of Education for the entire nation. Another Villa Government School student said, ‘…With all the education he has, my Prime Minister believes that some things he has written or said, they sound more like ‘…educated nonsense.’ Another interjected, we are not talking about ‘…education now, let us talk about the ‘Law,’ especially what it says in the ‘…Interpretation Act’ about Her Majesty. Another interjected that some students of the ‘….Irene B. Secondary School’ said that their village might not be the best, but it has produced a Governor-General and has ‘…MBBS’ behind his name. Then another said my Prime Minister has ‘MBA.’
Another interjected and said ‘…before that he was a Doctor. Still another asked ‘…So what difference does it make? Well he is Governor-General and when people speak about Her Majesty they are also speaking about him. What those letters ‘MBBS’ could do? Another said with ‘MBA,’ the Prime Minister could use his brain and make money. An Irene B. Secondary School student, said with ‘MBBS,’ the Governor-General can ‘…use medicine and cure people.’ Another interjected, ‘…They would still have to get money to pay him.’ As they discoursed, one of the students asked ‘Has anyone heard of the organization called ‘…ABCRE? They know a lot more about the Constitution than most of the Representatives and Senators. Another asked, ‘…What is ABCRE?’ The given answer was it means ‘…Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Reform Education.’ Oh! One of the students retorted; ‘…So they want reform to change the Governor General too?’
POWER AND AUTHORITY – GG
The student who appeared to have been following ‘ABCRE’ responded, ‘…Well, that is not the immediate desire; …They want us to be educated on the Constitution so that when we are elected to Parliament, we would know what the Constitution provides. For instance, a provision in the Constitution states, ‘…The power and authority of the Governor-General shall not be abridged, altered or in any way affected by the appointment of Deputy’ [Section 25 (2): CO: 1981]. A student asked ‘…Who is more authoritative the Governor-General or his Deputy? Though this had nothing to do with ‘ABCRE,’ the student who may have been following the organization’s educational programme, smartly asked, ‘…Who is more authoritative at your home, your parents or you?’ Oh! …Got the answer. One of the students then said the Constitution states, ‘…A Deputy shall conform to, and observe all instructions that the Governor-General, in his discretion may from time to time addressed to him.’ Another curious student asked, ‘….Where that provision can be found? The ‘…ABCRE’ student-listener pointed out ‘…Section 25 (2); [Constitution Order: 1981].
The Buckley’s Government School student said, ‘…I will tell my Minister so that he can educate Paul, and Saul and me Granny and all.’ There may have been a bit of ‘mixed-up as well. The student who appeared to have been listening to anything, but listening to the educational programmes of ‘ABCRE,’ told his schoolmate that he overheard two students, one from the ‘…Antigua Girls High School (AGHS)’ and the other from the ‘…Christ, The King High School (CKHS)’ speaking about someone ‘…Very Cute.’ He may have been caught in two minds. He believed that they may have been speaking about him. He also thought it could not be, since the other day, one of the female students told him that he was not handsome and he was not intelligent. Not sure what exactly he says, but took comfort in the fact that beauty or handsomeness is only seen by persons who connect at first sight.
He knew also what the Slinger Francisco, ‘Mighty Sparrow’ had said, ‘…Ugly man does feel like he beautiful,’ He appeared not to have felt that way, but decided to eaves drop. The students moved away. He realized that they were only speaking about Parliament. One of the students said, it is not ‘…Cute People we want in Parliament, because they passed a ‘Bill’ that they may not have read or understood. What ‘Bill’ the other female student asked? It was a ‘Bill’ to remove ‘…Executive Authority’ from the Governor-General so the Minister could apply the ‘Prison Rules.’ They did not say the ‘Bill’ appeared to have been ‘…ill-conceived; …skillfully and deceptively drafted,’ as to have caught many parliamentarians snoozing. What they would like to see, are more highly intelligent people who would ‘…Read the Bills’ to understand the ‘Mischief that might be Aimed by Parliament, as may have been hidden in the ‘…Prison (Amendment) Act [No.17 of 2017]. When asked what they are asked to amend.’ One of the students said, ‘…Anything they feel like changing.’ This could include the ‘…Power and Authority of the Governor-General.
Well, they just cannot change anything, willy-nilly.’ What is the meaning of that now, the student asked? In answer, the other student said some dictionaries say, ‘…doing things in some disorganized and unplanned manner.’ For instance, if a member of Government feels that he should perform the functions of Governor-General, all he/she might just do is to tell some ‘…Legal Draftsmen’ to draft a ‘Bill’ to chip of some of the Governor-General’s ‘…Executive Authority.’ You mean legal henchmen. No Draftsmen. Would not that be unconstitutional? From what ‘…ABCRE’ has been telling us, it is time for ‘…Constitutional Reform.’ That cannot be done ‘…willy-nilly.’ Likened to the ‘…Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ),’ the authorities have to follow the provisions set out in the Constitution. Thus, if anyone wants the Governor-General to be referred to as another person or that person as governor-General, then they might wish to follow the procedures stipulated in the Constitution [Section 47: CO: 1981].
What did the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) say? The news reported that he was addressing the Court about matters relating to the Constitution. So Parliament passed a law and then turned around and says the law is unconstitutional? What utter nonsense? No! Do not use the Prime Minister’s word. Better to say ‘…utter foolishness.’ The other student said, ‘…So you want to fool me too.’ Of the eight Sections in the Prison (Amendment) Act, Section 212 could not be found in any of the Sections inserted in the amendments.’ Well, you may have missed the ‘…Hatchet Section 3.’ So go right back to Section 3 [No.17 of 2017].
GOVERNOR TO MINISTER
It has five Sections to tackle, after completing that mission it was told to probe the principal Act [Chapter 341], and ‘…Where the words ‘…Governor-General’ appears [Chapter 341], Replace them with the word ‘…Minister.’ So it came up on ‘…Section 212’ and used the hatchet on Sir Rodney E. L. Williams GCMG, KGN, and MBBS.’ The student seemed more confused and asked, ‘…So the ‘Minister is now the Governor-General, the ‘ABCRE-taught student answered ‘No, just performing the role he used to perform. You know that this might be a little complicated to explain. Suggest that you ask someone like Anthony Armstrong, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
That is fine the curious student said. But one final question, what about the Prison (Amendment) Act that states ‘…All references to the Governor-General in the Prison Rules made under this authority of this Section shall be construed as a reference to the Minister’ [Section 8: No.17 of 2017]. Who wanted to change that? Excuse the student’s vernacular, ‘…Dat could be a ‘Cute fellow.’ So when one speaks about the Governor-General in the ‘…Prison Rules,’ the law says you must believe you are speaking about the ‘Minister.’ So when anyone speaks about the Governor-General, he must believe it is the Minister. What if the Minister was drunk? Even if more than ‘…15 Grammes’ were legally used, you must believe that he was not ‘fooley;’ may have been just clever.’ This could be problematic said the student, because in the ‘…Prison Rules,’ it states ‘…Extra remission may be granted to any prisoner by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Superintendent of Prison for any special service’ [Section 212: Chapter 341].
APPROBATE AND REPROBATE
It would seem that if the ‘Minister’ now has the authority to perform the functions of ‘…Governor-General,’ it could cause some attorneys to look at these concepts more closely. For neither a person with ‘…Executive Power and Legislative Authority,’ shall, on one hand operate as ‘…Approbate,’ while on the other hand as ‘Reprobate.’ This would be comparable to a person considering himself (a) …an Accuser; (b) …appointing himself as Judge; (c) …empanelling himself as Jury; (d) …finding guilt; and (d) …Punisher.’ Then at his pleasure and discretion, woke one morning, exercises executive authority by granting ‘…Prerogative of Mercy.’
In the parliamentary debates, many parliamentarians may have been innocently or unsuspectingly led down a path to embarrassment. Even so, it was the apparent recklessness associated with the ‘Assent,’ that appeared to have created such situation. Fairness, however, dictates that it is known of ‘…Leave of Absence’ of Parliamentarian Samantha Marshall, attorney-at law, who for personal reasons had missed the sitting. Without the benefit of reading the principal Prison Act [Chapter 341], the ‘…Omission of Section 212 relating to the Prison Rules,’ appeared to have caught even House Speaker Sir Gerald Watt KCN, QC, just above the knees. ‘…Section 212’ has not been included anywhere in the ‘Bill’ to amendthe principal Prison Act [Chapter 341]. A carefully conceptualized ‘Bill’ apparently ‘…Drafted with Intent to Deceive,’ and did deceive has ‘…caught super bright legal scholars,’ either with their pants or Skirts, just above or below their knees. The ‘deception’ appeared to had caught two former Attorneys General; House Speaker, Sir Gerald O. A. Watt KCN, and Queen’s Counsel; …former Attorney General (Antigua/Montserrat/British Virgin Islands), and Senator, now Deputy Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Clare K. Roberts KCN and Queen’s Counsel and Senate President Alincia Williams-Grant and attorney-at-law. By virtue of their respective offices, each had subscribed to the ‘…Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of office.’