Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jamaicans and what is "Right"

There has been much rambling lately on which laws should be "repealed" (note 'repealed' and not 'amended'). Now, people are too easily given to upholding what is convenient or what supports their position or thinking and too ready to oppose what goes against their views. The Towns and Communities Act of 1843 states clearly that it is illegal to sell items on "Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day, except in pharmacies, in shops within the terminal buildings of the Norman Manley and Sangster international airports, and public markets." The Women (Employment of) Act of 1942 clearly states that it is illegal for women to work after 10pm. There have been much calls lately since the Jamaica Gleaner ran a piece on "obsolete laws" for these laws to be "repealed" (note the quotes). Many are pointing out the dates as a supporting argument for the removal of these statutes from the books. This argument is totally flawed and therefore worthless to anybody who at least thinks without setting off a migraine.

The one thing that I use to discredit such an argument, I am sure the law that applies to murder (Offences against the persons act) was in existence in some way similar to its current form long before these "obsolete" laws. In other words, I am sure it was as illegal then as it is now to commit murder. Therefore, one cannot use time to determine the usefulness of an act. The act that criminalises 'buggery' aka anal sex in Jamaica was on the books since at least 1861 just about 20 years after the one that bans selling on Christmas day and nearly 80 years before an equally obsolete one that bans women working after 10pm. Now, if age or time the Act was passed is important in determining its applicability then all these laws should be repealed.

Laws should not be repealed solely because of their perceived obsolescence but due to it actually being obsolete. Consider the current trends and conditions that prevail in society then determine whether they are to be amended to be in line with international standards and above all morality.