LETTER: Say No to any State of Emergency


Dear Editor,

According to reports in the Antigua Newsroom online newspaper of August 11th,  2023, the Police have asked the government for “legislation” that would  “empower them to enforce a ‘limited’ state of emergency in specific areas…to  ensure public safety.” This request definitely warrants public scrutiny in view of  the fact that the Police have been touting their successes, and the laws that are  meant to guide their decisions in the field, do not appear to be impeding their  efforts in any way. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case.  

In the Observer of 12th August 2023, the Chief of Police, Atley Rodney, is quoted as  saying that “the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has observed a  noticeable decrease in criminal matters, signaling a potential step forward in the  realm of public safety.”

According to him, crime “numbers are going down” and  there are “signs of improvement.” To allay any suspicion that his positive outlook could be an exaggeration, the Chief of Police mentioned that “about 30 firearms  have been confiscated” and that “the cooperation of residents” has helped them  achieve that milestone. To top it off, the Chief says the Force is being “proactive.”  

All of the strategic elements are aligned in their favor. The parameters of the law that help to keep police activities within the framework of legality and that are meant to be protective of constitutional rights, have enabled the positive  outcomes the police have had. If the police crime report is accurate, then they do  not need a “limited” state of emergency and certainly not the enhancement of  their lethal arsenal, to include “mace” and “Taser gun,” to reduce crime. Are they  aware that “mace,” can impair eyesight and is detrimental to asthmatics and that the “Taser gun” can induce kidney damage, respiratory arrest, amnesia and in some instances, even cause death? Do these likely outcomes even bother the police? It may be that the police and the government have more than crime  fighting in mind. 

Antiguans and Barbudans should be concerned that a police force which has  already proven that it is capable of indiscriminately tear gassing peaceful  demonstrators, as happened on August 8th, of 2021, and has also shown that it can commit extra judicial killings, as the Killing of unarmed, Mr. Mannie James on  the 31st of July 2023 in front of his family and residents of Grays Farm was, would  be the same Force regimenting their lives, under a strictly enforced state of  emergency.


A state of emergency allows the cessation of everyone’s democratic rights. It sanctions the interruption of daily existence and puts the entire  community under the direct supervision and management of the Defense Force  and police. It would terminate the existing norms that govern how the police  should interact with people and how it can procure evidence when investigating  an alleged crime.  

At present, Stop and Frisk allows the searching of your person and belongings without probable cause when you are out in the public. Under a state of  emergency, these operations would be implemented more rigorously in regimented communities. There exists the possibility that during this declared  “limited” state of emergency, the police will be permitted to forego the use of a search warrant to enter and search your home. State of emergencies always  encourage official, reckless behaviors. 

There exists no antagonisms or incongruities between working to reduce crime and maintaining the human dignity and the democratic rights of every citizen. A  state of emergency will threaten those protections. It is the adherence to these standards, limited and precarious as they are in the Antigua and Barbuda  Constitution, that may offer marginalized, underserved and unrepresented  communities, like Grays Farm and Point, some modicum of protection against  officially sanctioned violations. That is our responsibility.  

You see, the police like the state, of which it is part of, acts like the force it is above  society. The police do not think that it is bound to have any allegiance to workers  and everyday people. That is why they never appear to hesitate when ordered to  carryout violence against demonstrators or seem to have evinced any sympathy when they were authorized to haul people out of their houses in the Point area, in  April of this year. Nor did they show reluctance when they were detailed to  supervise the forced evacuation of Barbudans from their home to Antigua in 2017, on behalf of the government .

Each time the police are asked to act against the  people, they get more accustomed to pushing them around, and the more they  become disrespectful of the rights of certain classes of people. Antiguans and Barbudans should thus be fearful of any state of emergency because your police  force has gotten accustomed to abrogating your rights in the interest of the  government. Barbudans understand this. Antiguans are aware of it. It is a good  thing that people are saying no to any state of emergency. 

By Alvette E Jeffers 








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  1. Writer the COP should not be proactive? What he is asking for exists in nearby islands like Barbados, Belize. Do you prefer he waits for when the need arises and then we have to rush to create the legislation and have it passed? Its better to use a jack hammer (full soe) when a hammer (location limited) can do? I can then hear the opposition shouting this is moving too quickly, we need proper consultations. Really looking forward to the consultations which I hope would include the the experiences of persons in nearby island with the same law in place

    • That’s the level of disdain they have for us, by sending such a shallow mind to soothe any disquiet and all he does, is make reference to the opposition, just like his boss. I don’t know where you live but do we have the level of crime like the places you mentioned? We probably have more corruption in government than they and for your information, Belize is not an island.

  2. There are numerous things in this article that I am in agreement with, pertaining to not considering at this time state of emergency power for the Antigua Police and Military.

    Antigua and Barbuda police force and military do not need and should not have any state of emergency powers as described.

    what is needed are competent people who are trained and possess advance degrees in criminal justice, law, sociology, psychology and other social science area.

    when these basic requirements are met, then we can begin to discuss limited, and reasonable additional powers for the forces mentioned here.

    learn to start collecting crime and victimization data and use that to prevent crimes. focus on the basic things that will bring substantial positive impact and less intrusive to citizens.

    Advance Degrees, exceptional abilities in criminal justice, social sciences, and law is available for your use before one should even consider additional powers.

    I do recommend having a Intelligence and National Security Unit that focuses on actual collection of data, research and using such research to properly secure residents and ensure this unit is made up of people with advance degree or exceptional ability in related fields.

    This department would in charge of national security, and all intelligence analysis. It would be the most elite law enforcement unit on Island and it pays substantially higher than any other. This also builds motivation in current law enforcement officers to work harder, and better, to be invited into this INSU, intelligence and national security unit.

    get the minor things correct first.

  3. The police and the army in recent times were charged for the murder Bruce Greenaway and we are awaiting for the charges to be laid for the shooting in the back of Mannie – unarmed and running away from them are now asking for permission to use excessive force under the disguise of State of emergency. I guess they want to bring us like Haiti. Hope they realize that in Haiti the gangs have overrun the corrupt law enforcement.
    What we need now are webcams on the police and that if they are off during any arrest, don’t matter how simple and uneventful that the offer or officers are charged for not having them on.
    Seem like the police is asking for us to live in a police state. As the writer said asking for this ill conceived act , at a time when the police is beating its chest and complementing itself for a job well done.
    All Antiguans should be calling for Justice for Bruce Greenaway – the autopsy said died my strangulation and I may add while in custody and Mannie – shot in the back and dragged like a dog into the police vechicle and carried to the hospital, to try and cover up – again the report said he was unarmed. Justice for Bruce Greenaway & Mannie – two innocent brothers and father of young children . Hey then you got counseling for the law enforcement and none for the victims children.
    We the citizens are calling on the Attorney general to do something about this. We are not waiting for you to come back to us in 5 years. Chet before elections you hypocritically cried out for Justice for Bruce Greenaway. Now you got the votes you have forgotten. Just remember you beat Ms. Athill by a narrow margin and the pendulum is swinging her way. Ms. Athill calling on you to seek justice for the children and Bruce Greenaway. Mr. Lewis calling on you to mobilize your community and fight for justice for your constituent that was shot in the back. Seek compensation for the children of both gentleman.

  4. Once the crooks in the Parliament and their cohorts in the WHITE COLLAR CRIME SYNDICATE are brought under control, then their accomplices on the streets distributing their pussy, guns and drugs will be brought under control as well.

    Ras Smood aka Jumbee_Picknee
    De ‘ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

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