Barbados Underground (BU) welcomes the Barbados Today report about the George Payne v Edmund Hinkson: Storm Clouds Hovering Over MAM court matter even though it has come several days after we posted. The fact that Roy Morris (Chief Editor) and shareholders in the Barbados Today have chosen to expose one side; that of the plaintiff, and not the defendant is evidence of the stain which the traditional media continues to blot the media landscape of Barbados. BU is aware how matters before the Courts must be treated in the public domain. Given its public profile a media house can easily be joined by either side to a matter like this one. What it does not mean however is that ALL the facts should not be reported. In this case why not ensure that the Statement of Defence (SOD) is included in the report?
BU continues to find this matter intriguing but not for the reasons political yardfowls on either side will show glee. There are the political ramifications of the court action by Payne for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Also, it gives BU the opportunity to explore a related issue associated with libel and slander which are now interchangeably referred to as defamation under the Act.
News broke this week that Barbados Labour Party (BLP) member of parliament George Payne has filed a defamation action against fellow BLP member of parliament Edmund Hinkson. To say that the action is mind boggling is an understatement. BU continues to try all effort to procure the court filing.
It is now over five years that the Owen Arthur Administration signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which came into force on 3rd May, 2008. This DLP Government in the meanwhile has apparently made no attempt to bring to Parliament Legislation which will ratify this Convention.
Indeed, the members of the disabled community and those of us who believe in their cause have had, over the last five months, to go to the extreme of signing a petition to the Prime Minister and his Government, urging them to pass the Convention into law.
The Government’s enactment of Disabilities Legislation will lead to persons with disabilities gaining more favourable educational and training opportunities than is now the case. It will lead to a large number of the estimated over five per cent of our population who are differently-abled having a greater chance to realize their full potential and to contribute to national development, as is the right of any citizen of Barbados. Furthermore, Legislation providing for affirmative action programmes beneficial to them will act as a catalyst in facilitating their employment, self-employment and otherwise, in areas of work for which they qualify and are capable of performing. Such law should also outlaw all forms of discrimination at the workplace on the basis of disability.