Letters

Emergency powers and natural law

Dear Editor,

I must, outrightly, disclose that I, myself, have neither been informed nor benefitted by a personal read concerning “conduct” and its “code” – as expounded upon, evidently, in 1955 England, by the Lord High Chancellor Viscount Kilmuir, at the time the highest-ranking judicial officer in Britain (see The Graduate’s letter to the editor in The Tribune of Monday, August 10, 2020).

I have not had the privilege yet.

However, I suspect that what must be a settled, prevailing course of direction on “conduct” and its “code”, within the given legal context, is caught up in the missionary tenor and tone the letter writer, The Graduate, presents.

And that, for me, exemplifies and evidences why the written (native) organic Westminster constitutional vision and architecture (in its global application) has its Privy Council and highest court within the state’s supreme court – where sovereignty, independence and meanings must find the highest protection.

Incidentally, conventional wisdom is nothing if not contextual!

Within the peculiar (covering) Westminster constitutional state, where base values are of undergirding quality, requiring of us a response, Justice Dame Joan Sawyer is at home!

For “home” means something.

Being “home” evokes and influences “conduct” of coherent (not coded) standard.

I know, being the compatriot that I am.

So, I find it utmostly insulting and objectionable when “trash talking” is the term used by The Graduate to reference any statements she makes when expressing her views.

She has not moved out of her lane in any sense.

Moreover, her conduct is tolerably cultural.

Bahamians understand her.

She is acceptable, too.

Quite likely, if I support the political party of the prime minister or even the prime minister himself, I would not be in agreement with her.

But she is who she is, both locally and professionally.

Therefore, for all the right reasons, I am prepared to listen, and respectfully to hear her out.

As for myself, enough has been expounded upon to my satisfaction by luminaries of The Bahamas Bar to substantiate the constitutionality of the prime minister’s public emergency actions under his government’s use of the Emergencies Powers Act laws of The Bahamas.

It is of special interest to me, having already expressed in my writing the considered opinion that legal precedent was established in the judgement of Nuremberg, that historic trial of the four German jurists accused of legalizing Nazi atrocities during the course of the second World War, that I am prepared to state, furthermore, that the relevant articles of the Bahamian constitution (19-29) touching the matter of emergency powers are but a codification of natural law.

Let us consider this natural law issue as it compares with what transpires in the 1960 novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

In its 1962 screen adaptation, when Gregory Peck, portraying the heroic Atticus Finch, accepts his being chosen by compatriots (competent authority) to pull the trigger on that staggering dog making its way down the old, dusty road, it met its true standard (i.e. obedience rather than sacrifice) as given under natural law.

That action taken by Atticus was right action; it was both lawful and valid.

To conclude, it is safe to say that in the visionary constitutional state, emergency orders are of a most basic, fundamental necessity.

And it helps if we were to understand such law in the true context.

Thank you.

– Gladys (Brown) Manuel 

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