Joining The Bahamian Discussion on Human Rights Law
Meanwhile, many of the younger generation applaud these changes as a welcomedeliverance from the traditional prejudices and oppressions against women, minoritiesand obscure religious or ethnic groups. The European Union presents us with the mostauthoritative model of a New World Order that we have seen or heard about since TheRoman Empire. And while it was created, supposedly, to bring together all the rawmaterials of war after World War II, to avoid another great war of bloodshed, peril and destruction when the weapons of war had become so formidable, there are somecommentators who have expressed need for the legislators in the Commonwealth of Nations to give pause before ancient rights, hard-fought rights and complexunderstandings are labeled with one brush stroke, that colour being One World Order.It is my hope that I have the patience, discipline and care required to compress a mass of material to you in a format that is helpful, readable, fair and most of all gives praise to ourLord who has brought us thus far, who has brought us a mighty long way and whosename must be continually raised up on the earth.WHERE DO WE BEGIN?For the Bahamian Church, I suggest we begin with the most simplistic approach: ourunderstanding of what it means to have a constitution and how this is different in theUK. We also need to know that the law happens in more than one place in theWestminster system that we inherited from Britain, a country whose constitutionalposition is very different than our own but whose court structure we have inherited inwhat we call the ´common law.µFirst of all, the United Kingdom is considered by many Bahamians as the Motherland.´Queen Victoria freed the slaves,µ and the Creole ship had to surrender their passengersthat were considered by the Americans to be mere chattel as against British reform forabolition. But the United Kingdom does not have a written Constitution. Nor do Israelor New Zealand. Being a country with an unwritten constitution means that issues of constitutional merit (relationship of the individual to the state, role of institutions,separation of powers, etc.) are to be found intermittently where an Act of Parliamentdefines them.How important are Acts of Parliament (also called statutes/statutory law)? Acts of Parliament in the British system take priority over court decisions/judge-madedecisions/common law decisions. So, where the court (in an upper court, the House of Lords) made a decision to award compensation for property loss in the case
rmah Oil v.Lord Advocate (1965)
the British Parliament wheeled around and swiftly moved to passthe War Damage Act 1965
to break that pattern (of getting $$ out of government forwar damage) from happening. Overnight, the decision of the judges that had created onelaw (that government must compensate such and such a company for damage whichoccurred in the war), now changed into another law (on the same exact issue) by the
 AC 75.
See Barnett, 2004, pp 114-116.