LETTER: Harold Lovell Can Do Better, I Believe

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By Craig Flermius

“Ask not what your country can for you but ask what you can do for your country”. This line was made famous back in 1961 by former United States president John F. Kennedy. While times certainly have changed since then and the world today would probably be unrecognizable to the men and women of that epoch, one thing remains unchanged: people still look to their leaders for inspiration and hope and for someone to lead them from darkness into the light. I cannot help but feel a sense of despair, and sometimes even anger, when I listen to what passes for leadership in our society. We have turned long-standing values and traditions upside-down and discarded the need for standards that can be applied generally and fairly. Now, do not get me wrong, I believe that human relations are in a state of constant change, but some values are unaffected by time.

 

Qualities such as truth, loyalty, humility forgiveness and love transcend the borders of time and culture while at the same time define our humanity. We should never give way to lust for power by allowing deception and avarice to replace the enduring values of good leadership.

 

Recently, there was a landmark ruling by the Privy Council in a matter that was brought by two very prominent citizens of Antigua and Barbuda who have been leading a fight for decades, claiming that lands in Barbuda are owned by the residents in common. Their professed conviction is that Barbudans are a distinct group from Antiguans who have lived historically different from those on the mainland. While to an extent some of this may be true, it was as a consequence of socialization and propaganda and not law.

 

Many of us have been led by a passion that is ignited by a torch that burns fiercely and is fuelled by misrepresented notions of history, blatant intent to deceive and plain politics to believe that there is a natural rivalry between the inhabitants of the two islands that must continue in order for one or another party to preserve political relevance. This is nothing less than a dastardly unpardonable act that has been perpetrated on our people over time by those meant to perpetuate a state of chaos over unity. Antigua and Barbuda is a unitary state and the constitution identifies, defines and recognizes ONLY one citizen: Antiguan and Barbudan! There is no Antiguan by itself and there is no Barbudan by itself. Simply, there are residents of each island and citizens of the ONE COUNTRY, although intrinsically everyone understands and appreciates the differences which are in many cases not so subtle at all and very much like some ways, we accept some of the same distinctions from village to village on the main island. There have been too many victims and too many needless casualties that have resulted from our inability to resolve these disputes of all these decades.

 

Following the announcement of the referenced judgement, the leader of the United Progressive Party was interviewed on a radio programme and his utterances were startling to say the least. I have always thought of Harold Lovell as a very capable speaker with a wealth of political experience. He is articulate, astute and circumspect in language. This is why I am so concerned.

 

When, as an attorney at law and officer of the court, he suggested that, notwithstanding the Privy Council ruling, he considers the matter of land ownership in Barbuda as a moral and historical question and not just a legal one. This subtle insinuation that the judgement may not be final or does not have to be respected challenges the competence of the final appellate court to rule in this matter. It suggests defiance and the premise to set aside the ruling even if it were just for some emotional or psychological comfort. This, for an officer of the court, is contemptuous and reprehensible. Even more, Mr. Lovell’s comments, like those of Mr. Trevor Walker sometime before, are flirting with sedition.

 

The matter that was adjudicated was pursued by those convinced that the lower courts got it wrong and they would be vindicated by the Privy Council once and for all. Had the ruling been the other way the question of morality and history would not have arisen. If our leaders and those aspiring to lead clandestinely promote lawlessness what kind of nation are we building after forty years of independence and a constitution? Harold Lovell, I am disappointed in you. You know better and I would not expect that desperation, recklessness and irresponsibility to define your winter in politics.

 

Are you suggesting, Mr. Lovell, that the UPP would seek to legislate a situation to circumvent the settled law that was the result of a challenge by the ones you continue to refer to as Barbudans to ensure that they remain psychologically chained to a separatist identity on which you pin your political hopes? Harold Lovell, you can do better; even if you do not think so, I believe so.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. LMAO!!! Writer look you go get wud now🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Crazy Annie and her 1000+ accounts coming for you🤣🤣🤣🤣

  2. The man of the house normally has the last say, but it doesn’t mean that his decision is the right

  3. My view of what Leader Lovell said is quite different than yours. My understanding is that he thinks that the issue transcends just a legal track that the PC isn’t sensitive to. I agree. There’s room for tradition and precedent. There ought to be room for the longstanding connection Barbudans have with the land they occupy. I agree with you that there is one class of citizen in the state, however, that doesn’t mean that we should disenfranchise all Barbudans with a harsh legal position. Barbudans should retain some say as to what types of development serves them best, but they should not have exclusive rights of tenancy or if it comes to that, ownership and hereditary based on which island the residents were born on. I hope an equitable balance can be forged.

    • @Lester Flax…. “There’s room for tradition and precedent.” That statement is precisely what the two gentlemen from Barbuda were asserting with their challenge. The Privy Council ruled that there was NO TRADITION, NO PRECEDENT. You cannot have a tradition of living on Crown lands. It simply cannot exist. The lands in Barbuda are CROWN LANDS and there can be no tradition but what the law mandates. It is as simple as that; and that is the nonsense that Harold Lovell is trying to sell.

  4. My view of what Leader Lovell said is quite different than yours. My understanding is that he thinks that the issue transcends just a legal track that the PC isn’t sensitive to. I agree. There’s room for tradition and precedent. There ought to be room for the longstanding connection Barbudans have with the land they occupy. I agree with you that there is one class of citizen in the state, however, that doesn’t mean that we should disenfranchise all Barbudans with a harsh legal position. Barbudans should retain some say as to what types of development serves them best, but they should not have exclusive rights of tenancy or if it comes to that, ownership and hereditary based on which island the residents were born on. I hope an equitable balance can be forged.

  5. You attack Harold left, right and center using all kind of different names.
    You don’t see it not working!

  6. All of this article did is that it further exposes his desperation. The day this man becomes PM I moving back to Atlanta.

    • @ Just Saying. Start to pack ( don’t forget your tutu) and take Peter Wickham with you.
      Live happily ever after in Atlanta!
      Bye!
      While you are gone, the REDEEM TEAM will bring back joy and smiles to Antigua and Barbuda

  7. Have you considered that land in the city of London is not sold but leased only. It matters not who owns the building the land is owned by the City of London.

  8. I wouldn’t necessarily call Mr. Lovell names because I am convinced that he was also of the view for many years, that Barbudans owned or had rights to the land. He and I had a little exchange on this topic subsequent to the ruling. He was unhappy of my characterization of his utterance on air. We trashed it out and have since moved on…

    From my acquired knowledge of the Barbudan history, I was convinced all along that the judgment could not have been returned any other way but in favour of the government’s solid position.

    Even after listening intently three times to argument proffered by both sides to the JCPC, I could presumptuously deduce that the claimants had no sound case.

    It is clear that the Privy Council has no stake in the matter, (which is an objective place to begin)

    I don’t wish to believe that Mr. Lovell would want to use this ruling as a political football but rather was simply in shock by the final decision. He wanted to show support with the few Barbudans who were initially unprepared to accept this new reality.

    I trust that by now, he has fully accepted the ruling and is now prepared to be a part of the panel to educate the few Barbudans who are in need of some guidance.

    Antiguans must also be willing to work with our brothers and sisters across the waters as it relates to the healing process.

    I’m grateful that these two prominent Barbudans made it their business to seek a ultimate decision at the final appellate court. It brings an end to this historical myth and provides a way forward for all.
    God bless Antigua and Barbuda. 🇦🇬

  9. The Privy Council judgement on the Barbuda Land issue highlighted two principles, namely, (1) the Sovereignty of Parliament and (2) a later Act of Parliament takes priority over an earlier Act.

    The point that Harold Lovell was making falls within the principle of the Sovereignty of Parliament in that Parliament can pass legislation to give Barbudans certain land rights. That was done in the 2007 Barbuda Land Act. However, that Act was not entrenched in the Constitution hence it was easily repealed. In fact, parts of that Act was repealed by the 2015 Paradise Found Act, which supports the second principle that the Privy Council judgement highlighted.

    During the independence talks in 1981at Lancaster House in London, Barbuda was opposed to going into independence with Antigua. To appease them Sir VC Bird agreed to allow the communal system of land ownership to continue in Barbuda. Also, a weak self-government for Barbuda was established under the Barbuda Local Government Act.

    The tacit agreement on communal land ownership was honoured by all previous administrations except the Administration of Gaston Browne. Come Gaston Browne and the war in the communal ownership of land in Barbuda was unleashed.

    Yes, the Privy Council judgement confirms that the land in Barbuda is owned by the Crown. However, there was an understanding that the communal system of land ownership would have continued into perpetuity. No so with Gaston since he has a very misguided and unsustainable development plan for the lands of Barbuda.

    The only solution to this problem is a government that appreciates the history of the Barbuda Land issue and takes legislative action to address the problem or the eventual SECESSION of Barbuda. Harold Lovell was talking about legislative action should his UPP forms government at some point and nothing at all is wrong with his position. There is law and there is politics. A sovereign government can do anything.

  10. I am convinced that CRAIG FLERMIUS is just another name for GASTON BROWNE 😂😀🤣. Keep trying your propaganda Gaston your government is still on the way out.

  11. Everyone has a bad memory, under the UPP and Harold Lovell mant small business went under with the introduction of the Certificate of Good standing which you had to get every three months, which tied together all your taxes ABST, property taxes, Income Tax, business tax. If any one of these were taxes out of date you couldn’t import, deep water ware houses were empty. They went back to 1972 to look a property tax and in most cases there records were wrong but if you couldn’t prove it you either pay or go out of business. ABST tax they came up with all kind of penalties if you were late a day or two but they never advised you in writing you were late and then in my case I had late interest of 150,000.00. I was paying every month but all of a sudden I owed this amount. I had to close my small business and find a job in a hotel. So Please think before you put the real criminal Harold and his gang back in power.

    • Born Antiguan I believe you must be living on Mars even though you have referenced the period when the UPP was in power. Born Antiguan the real criminals are in power right now. The court might not have found them guilty of anything as yet, but Gaston, Cutie, Chet, Asot and Molwyn are criminals. Please tap fooling yourself.

    • @ Born Antigua.
      You obviously don’t live in Antigua. I therefore forgive you. Tell you what, come down for a short visit. I say short, because I have pity on you and I would not want you to spend a long time in this hell hole of suffering.

      You have no idea what we have to go through. Walk around town, the ghost town called St John’s. Further, look at how Gaston put on taxes for us the business people. Gaston choking us, he digging out our eye, he put his nasty knee on our necks!

      Talk to a pensioner! Talk to a Jolly Beach worker, a CASS worker, a LIAT worker, a Clare Vu worker, a Solid Waste worker, an ABS worker then make your assessment.

      You might have a beef with the UPP. But the majority of people right now are bawling murder. Go to any barber shop and ask for an opinion!
      Never, ever ever have we had it this hard!
      The ABLP FAILED US BIG TIME!

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