In our simple democracy the media represents the nervous system and when it does not function well, neither does democracy. Thinly veiled or open, sometimes boldly stated alignment of media houses to, and in particular media personalities declaring “vested interests” in, specific parties with sketchy or non existent ideologies is unacceptable because it is detrimental to objective thought. It is ruinous to Common Law. Have the local media not learned anything from the Murdoch Media Empire fiasco that encouraged violations of civil and other rights, fostered corruption of law enforcement and placed an embarrassing face on a profession where ethics should always be at the forefront of its exercise?
St Lucia has inherited the Jack Grynberg Affair and the local media seems clueless about the legal details or ramifications of the “sale of St Lucia’s seabed” and “payment of royalties” issues. Not surprising, as legalese is a language unto itself, designed to confuse those unfamiliar with its inequality to the Queen’s English. Those members of the media not necessarily aligned to the current government, but opposed to a Kenny Anthony return, are bristling with opinions swirling around the then Prime Minister’s role in the matter. The libelous utterances of at least three government Ministers within the confined coziness of parliamentary privilege have continued in the public domain by at least one of the trio of foolish virgins, who dares to fearlessly tread where the Yodaesque Astaphan lies in wait. Nearly every story labels either Dr. Kenny Anthony or Jack Grynberg notoriously “litigious”, as if defending one’s rights or reputation in court were some nasty communicable disease. Everyone has a right to sue anyone.
For Dr Anthony, perception in this matter is critical in the court of public opinion: his decision to keep the matter couched in secrecy with the knowledge of just one high-ranking government functionary makes the seabed at Dauphin terribly murky; his actions, oily. The pact between the two gets even more slippery if the revelation by Prime Minister King is to be believed; that not even Anthony’s closest cabinet colleagues were privy to the secret deal to explore St Lucia’s sea for Texas tea. However, in St Lucia’s Admiralty Law-based courts there is no illegality in keeping the matter confidential, even as the reasons advanced seem derisorily unconvincing at best. The biased view of the media, inlaid by close personal political association, clouds the public’s view of the matter. Prime Minister Stephenson King added no salt to the gaping wound, but did succeed in eliciting a collective sucking of teeth by navigating ground already covered by the media and his loud-mouthed members of government.
The local media, and dare I say, the vast majority of lawyers in this country and elsewhere, need to understand the foundation of Law. There are three classes of laws: The Laws of God, which encompass the Laws of Nature; the Laws of the Land also referred to as Common Law and thirdly, Private Law (man-made law) also referred to as Contract Law. Framers of the constitution know that it is self-evident that the God of Nature is the sovereign of the universe and all that is contained in it, including humankind. God endowed all humanity with “certain unalienable rights” making them self-directing sovereigns, which means that any governments instituted among men, derive their just powers only from the consent of the governed, who are the source of earthly power and authority. Hence, any attempt to exercise powers not conveyed by the people is unjust and unauthorized, and any act done pursuant to such usurpation of power is void. Do not reach for your Black’s just yet, counselor, because you have been trained in a particular way and this simple explanation will prove difficult for you as a university-trained lawyer.
Sovereign power resides in and comes only from the people. “We, the People” are the sovereigns. All the power and authority the government has, is given to it by the people! If there is no one to govern, where does government’s power come from? Therefore, in the matter of Grynberg, if we do not have the right to do a thing, then we cannot delegate such a right to any government! Is it not in contention to this principle that representatives of the people—legislators, parliamentarians or bureaucrats or judges; the so-called honorable this and that– pretend they can make laws to implement powers The People did not and cannot give them? We, The people of St Lucia, cannot sell the seabed or any rights to it, so how could we have authorized it through Dr Kenny Anthony? It is self-evident! Yet they pretend they can do virtually anything they or even a majority of them merely agree (vote) among themselves to do. They publish interpretations of laws and promulgate rules based on those interpretations; or they render decisions that are clearly antithetical to the concepts set forth in the island’s Constitution as the authors of that Contract with The people understood and expounded them; and thereby they violate their sworn oath to defend and uphold said Constitution. They also promote and rely on the general misconception that any statute passed by a legislature is valid. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail! Constitutional lawyers, it is your turn for arguments.
When will our politicians learn? And, I mean all of them – red, yellow, blue and green! They are all pretenders of the ilk of VS Naipaul’s “Mimic Men”. They all plead Alzheimer’s to carry on as if they were not servants of the people, fooling us into believing that because they swear allegiance to the corrupt haves, they are not accountable to the majority have-nots. We The People did not give Dr Anthony the right to sell anything – seabed or rights to explore for oil in it. That is why, like already encumbered lovers, Kenny and Earl kept it close to their hearts. Neither did we give Richard Frederick the right to allow Italians to build luxury homes in an area we all agree is holy, well at least, protected ground. The stench of personal gain without personal sweat is all over these issues. But how can they continuously do it without our consent; usurp our power? Through our fatal silence in these matters; for on behalf of politicians, we see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. There are no protestations, demonstrations, civil disobedience to emblazon our anger at their disrespect for We, The People. They know that few if any who discover such usurpation will have the perseverance, let alone the financial means and time required to find a qualified, willing, incorruptible attorney to utilize the court system to expose their usurpation and bring them to account and thus rectify their malfunction…excuse me, mismanagement.
Will we ever get any of these politicians to sign a pact, a Contract of Faith with the people that they will be totally truthful, transparent and subservient to us? As far as I know, the only form of government recognized as lawful in St Lucia is a representative one and representation requires mutual consent. In the absence of mutual consent, neither representation nor government can exist. OK, how about a media untainted by the color of party politics? Not until the cash for positive public light stops flowing. Show me a nation diligent enough to question everything put before them, especially by politicians and the media and I will show you the true power of We, The People.