Categorized | Opinions

Enquiring Minds Would Like To Know

By Shirley Osborne

Enquiring minds would like legal minds to consider and respond to the question of whether a Constitution could properly be said to be valid, or trustworthy, if it clearly and demonstrably is also (self) contradictory. And if it is clearly and demonstrably is untrustworthy and invalid, what ought the remedies be? Because, remedies there ought to be.

Let’s read together, shall we?

From the very first section of the document, Part I, entitled, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, under the section subtitled, “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.” It reads:

Whereas every person in Montserrat is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, without distinction of any kind, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely –

(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b)freedom of conscience, of expression, and of assembly and association;
(c) protection for his or her private and family life, the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property save in the public interest and on payment of fair compensation.

Clear enough. Not bad at all. No quarrel there. No possibility of discrimination evident anywhere.

In a later section of this same Part I, entitled, “Protection of private and family life and privacy of home and other property” it also reads,

(1) Every person has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, his or her home and his or her correspondence.

Again, this is good. This is a free country. Every one’s home is her castle. Everyone’s house his fiefdom. And then, everything changes.

The “Protection of right to marry” of Part I very clearly stipulates that:

(1)    Every man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by or under any law) has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and to found a family.

So! But! What if, a man or woman of marriageable age wanted to marry a person not of the opposite sex and to found a family? Then, what? What, then do those persons do?

The question I’m asking here is not whether the Constitution ought to grant the right to marry people of the same sex, although of course the entirety of my thoughts on that matter would be, “Yes” … but that is another fight, and it is somebody else’s, not mine.

Clearly, according to the section on the “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual,” it would be discriminatory, and therefore unConstitutional, to deny any person the right to marry on the basis of “sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status,..”

Equally clearly, under the “Protection of private and family life and privacy of home and other property” every person has the fundamental right to “to respect for his or her private and family life, his or her home” and it would therefore be discriminatory, and therefore also unConstitutional, to deny any person this right on the basis of, “sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status..”

The integrity of this document is not negotiable. If it denies a person, or group of persons, any right that it says they and all other people must have, it is being discriminatory. This document ostensibly legislates against discrimination. And equally ostensibly legislates it into being. So, how does Montserrat square that?

My point, here, is that if the document says one thing in one section, then says something in another section that obviously and unquestionably contradicts what it says in the first section, then it is worthless and cannot be trusted. The same principles and standards apply to the written statements that people make, as are applicable to their verbal avowals.  If a person tells you one lie, you have to question whether there was only one lie, and what, therefore, might the others lies be.  If there is one lie, then there could very likely be others. One ought to check thoroughly, very thoroughly, before signing. Who wouldn’t agree?

It is natural, and wise, I might add, to doubt the integrity of any person or document which contradicts itself. Lies are a breach of trust. They are untrustworthy by definition, and liars are treacherous by their very nature. The potential for harm and injury is clear and indisputable. A Constitution is an entity, a whole, a “One Thing.” So, following the logic along, if any part of it is untrustworthy the whole is also potentially treacherous, harmful, and injurious. If it lies about the rights of one group can it be trusted to not be lying about those it says it confers on any others?

I think not. It must, therefore, be reviewed, discussed, revised, negotiated, and corrected.  Properly. Minutely. Properly. Respectfully.

So far, not so good.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Shirley Osborne

Enquiring minds would like legal minds to consider and respond to the question of whether a Constitution could properly be said to be valid, or trustworthy, if it clearly and demonstrably is also (self) contradictory. And if it is clearly and demonstrably is untrustworthy and invalid, what ought the remedies be? Because, remedies there ought to be.

Let’s read together, shall we?

Insert Ads Here

From the very first section of the document, Part I, entitled, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, under the section subtitled, “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.” It reads:

Whereas every person in Montserrat is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, without distinction of any kind, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely –

(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b)freedom of conscience, of expression, and of assembly and association;
(c) protection for his or her private and family life, the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property save in the public interest and on payment of fair compensation.

Clear enough. Not bad at all. No quarrel there. No possibility of discrimination evident anywhere.

In a later section of this same Part I, entitled, “Protection of private and family life and privacy of home and other property” it also reads,

(1) Every person has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, his or her home and his or her correspondence.

Again, this is good. This is a free country. Every one’s home is her castle. Everyone’s house his fiefdom. And then, everything changes.

The “Protection of right to marry” of Part I very clearly stipulates that:

(1)    Every man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by or under any law) has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and to found a family.

So! But! What if, a man or woman of marriageable age wanted to marry a person not of the opposite sex and to found a family? Then, what? What, then do those persons do?

The question I’m asking here is not whether the Constitution ought to grant the right to marry people of the same sex, although of course the entirety of my thoughts on that matter would be, “Yes” … but that is another fight, and it is somebody else’s, not mine.

Clearly, according to the section on the “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual,” it would be discriminatory, and therefore unConstitutional, to deny any person the right to marry on the basis of “sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status,..”

Equally clearly, under the “Protection of private and family life and privacy of home and other property” every person has the fundamental right to “to respect for his or her private and family life, his or her home” and it would therefore be discriminatory, and therefore also unConstitutional, to deny any person this right on the basis of, “sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status..”

The integrity of this document is not negotiable. If it denies a person, or group of persons, any right that it says they and all other people must have, it is being discriminatory. This document ostensibly legislates against discrimination. And equally ostensibly legislates it into being. So, how does Montserrat square that?

My point, here, is that if the document says one thing in one section, then says something in another section that obviously and unquestionably contradicts what it says in the first section, then it is worthless and cannot be trusted. The same principles and standards apply to the written statements that people make, as are applicable to their verbal avowals.  If a person tells you one lie, you have to question whether there was only one lie, and what, therefore, might the others lies be.  If there is one lie, then there could very likely be others. One ought to check thoroughly, very thoroughly, before signing. Who wouldn’t agree?

It is natural, and wise, I might add, to doubt the integrity of any person or document which contradicts itself. Lies are a breach of trust. They are untrustworthy by definition, and liars are treacherous by their very nature. The potential for harm and injury is clear and indisputable. A Constitution is an entity, a whole, a “One Thing.” So, following the logic along, if any part of it is untrustworthy the whole is also potentially treacherous, harmful, and injurious. If it lies about the rights of one group can it be trusted to not be lying about those it says it confers on any others?

I think not. It must, therefore, be reviewed, discussed, revised, negotiated, and corrected.  Properly. Minutely. Properly. Respectfully.

So far, not so good.