Better Than … the ‘Bill of Rights’ – We can do better!

Go Lean Commentary

What makes America better?
Our freedom …
… our Constitution is a masterpiece;
… but other countries have freedom too. – Dialogue from TV Show Newsroom (See Appendix VIDEO below).

Many people still believe that America is the “greatest” because of its Constitution. It is time now to break-down this BIG FAT LIE of a thesis and then ascertain the truth. Remember this assertion:

When I was a boy, heaven was up here – [pointing in a gesture] – and America was here [only a little lower in the gesturing]. – See previous Go Lean blog-commentary with this portrayal.

Is America just a product of good advertising or is there any truth to this “masterpiece” assessment of the Constitution?

Firstly, that “masterpiece” Constitution was ratified in 1789 and then immediately engaged in an Amendment process to add-more and make it better. There was the pronounced need to ensure protection against any emergence of tyranny by the new government. These protections were codified in the First 10 Amendments, better known as the Bill of Rights; this is the feature that valued the new Constitution as a masterpiece.

Let’s examine these closer …

American History presents the case of an overarching need to rebel against the tyranny of imperial power. This was the motivation for the country’s Founding Fathers and the originators of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. That document codified this motivation with these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Why is this American Constitutional History important from a Caribbean perspective?

Today we have to compete with America, but now they are economic tyrants due to their size, strength and wealth; they are “eating our lunch”. We have a critical brain drain problem in which we lose so many of our citizens, who have abandoned their homelands … for American shores. When they do this and naturalize as American citizens, they are required to take an oath and vow to defend this same Constitution; with these sentiments:

… that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

Let’s keep it real! Those in the Caribbean, where 29-of-the-30 member-states reflect a Majority Black-and-Brown ethnic reality, that 1789 Constitution allowed you to be enslaved and only valued you at 3/5th the value of a man. So perhaps that Constitution needs to be “taken down a notch” in its glorification. (Note: the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, but after nearly 100 years later in 1865).

The effort in this commentary is part of the quest to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play, even Better Than America. Therefore, we too need a masterpiece quality in our laws and statues. How do we compare? How should we compare? In addition, with our effort to appoint New Guard for our regional governance, how can we apply the lessons from America’s Constitutional History?

Here’s the encyclopedic reference to those Bill of Rights … that supposedly made the US Constitution such a masterpiece:

Reference: United States Bill of Rights
The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 debate over the ratification of the Constitution, and written to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically granted to the U.S. Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in earlier documents, especially the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), as well as the English Bill of Rights (1689) and the Magna Carta (1215).[1]

The Supreme Court … concluded … that the founders intended the Bill of Rights to put some rights out of reach from majorities, ensuring that some liberties would endure beyond political majorities.[88][89][90][91]

  • First Amendment – Freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble/petition
  • Second Amendment – The right of the people to keep and bear Arms
  • Third Amendment – Restricting the quartering of soldiers in a private house
  • Fourth Amendment – Restrictions against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Fifth Amendment – Protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination and guarantees the rights to due process, grand jury screening of criminal indictments, and compensation for the seizure of private property under eminent domain.
  • Sixth Amendment – Grants the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury in the jurisdiction where the crime have been committed.
  • Seventh Amendment – Guarantees jury trials in federal civil cases
  • Eighth Amendment – Restricts against excessive bail and cruel-and-unusual punishments
  • Ninth Amendment – Reserves the privilege that “other” rights not enumerated in the Constitution are retained by the people
  • Tenth Amendment – Reinforces that powers not delegated to the Federal Government as being reserved to the States or the people.

Source: Retrieved November 21, 2019 from:

For the new Caribbean, we want to compete better with America. We do not want “them eating our lunch”; we want to appeal to our people that they can better succeed in their quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness right here at home.

Yes, we can “prosper where we are planted”. However, this quest must be more than just a vision (dream); we must have the legal structure to ensure societal success. We must conceive, believe and achieve!

This is the charter and the roadmap for the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. Every month, we publish a series of teaching commentaries – as a supplement to the 2013 book; for November 2019, we are presenting the thesis that we can be Better Than America, in words (law) and in action. We are presenting this thesis by analyzing the American Bill of Rights and how our proposed treaty – to confederate a new Caribbean regional administration – is founded on even better principles than  theirs.  The full catalog of this series is detailed as follows:

  1. Better than the Bill of Rights: First Amendment – We can do better
  2. Better than the Bill of Rights: Second Amendment – No slavery legacy
  3. Better than the Bill of Rights: Third  & Fourth Amendments
  4. Better than the Bill of Rights: Fifth & Sixth Amendments
  5. Better than the Bill of Rights: Seventh & Eighth Amendments
  6. Better than the Bill of Rights: Ninth & Tenth Amendments

In this series, a reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines of the 30 Caribbean member-states for the Greater Good. We need to ensure that governmental institutions never abuse Human Rights or become tyrannical in their execution of the implied Social Contract (where citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights).

When Human Rights are abused,  we fail to guarantee “justice for all”, and our people seize upon the opportunity to leave, and then our critical plight of societal abandonment worsens even more. people seek refuge on foreign shores, like America. So the need to optimize our governance and justice institutions is ever-present; and it transcends borders, politics, class, language and race. It is a Human Right for people to feel justified to pursue justice – even heightened as a religious devotion – for themselves and for their children.

This need for justice, free of tyranny, have been elaborated upon in many previous Go Lean commentaries; consider this sample here: Unequal Justice – A series on the Tyranny of American Sheriffs Cop-on-Black Shootings in America’s DNA Is the US a ‘Just’ Society? Hardly! Repairing the Breach: ‘Hurt People Hurt People’ Future Focused – Policing the Police Waging a Successful War on ‘Terrorism’ and Bullying Prisoners for Profit – Abuses in the Prison Industrial Complex Mitigating the Eventual ‘Abuse of Power’

The First Amendment was also first in importance; it stressed freedom of speech and free flow of knowledge. This freedom was presented as a mitigation to ignorance, orthodoxy and dogma – which many times stemmed from religious practices.  The American experience, therefore, called for a Separation of Church and State so as to not elevate one group of religious practitioners over another group. The thinking – derived from the European Enlightenment movement – assessed that religious orthodoxy had a dysfunctional past. The Enlightened strategy was to divest all religions from State Power, therefore de-clawing the fangs that had tyrannized previous societies. During those Bad Old Days, the religious tyranny was so unjust that historians dubbed European civilization as in the Dark Ages. The mitigation from the Enlightened Movements brought a new progression in liberalism.

The First Amendment was designed to continue that progression in American society.

This is also the design for the Go Lean roadmap.

The Caribbean member-states need progress and more liberalism. The imperial forces that tyrannized American society also afflicted the history of the Caribbean but we never rebelled; no revolutionary change; only evolutionary change. There is therefore the need to weed out many of the bad practices of our orthodox society. This quest – battling against orthodoxy – aligns with many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here: What Went Wrong – We never had our War Introducing Formal Reconciliations to now ‘Refuse to Lose’ European Reckoning – Christianity’s Indictment Colonialism’s Bloody History Revisited State of Caribbean Union: Hope and Change from Orthodoxy Learning from Stereotypes – Good and Bad Waging a Successful War on Orthodoxy Vision and Values for a ‘New’ Caribbean

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society, for better protection of Human Rights. One advocacy provides lessons that we learn by considering history of the US Constitution. See excerpts and headlines from this advocacy from Page 145 entitled:

10 Lessons from the US Constitution

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).
This treaty calls for the unification of the region into a single market, thereby expanding to an economy of 30 member-states and 42 million people. The mission of the CU is to provide economic empowerment, homeland security and emergency management (disaster recovery). The CU is a neo-governmental entity, modeled after the European Union (EU). The EU attempted to codify a Constitution, though not ratified by the national legislatures of France and the Netherlands. So the EU Parliament accomplished the same objectives by amending the original treaties with the provisions from the proposed Constitution. The lesson is that the legal protections must be codified in the CU Treaty.
2 Articles of Confederation
The 1789 US Constitution was preceded by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, an agreement among the 13founding states that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution. Its drafting by the Continental Congress began in mid-1776, and an approved version was sent to the states for ratification in late 1777. The formal ratification by all 13 states was completed in early 1781. Even when not yet ratified, the Articles provided domestic and international legitimacy for the Continental Congress to direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with Europe and deal with territorial issues and Indian relations. Nevertheless, the weak government created by the Articles became a matter of concern for key Nationalists. On March 4, 1789, the Articles were replaced with the new US Constitution. This new Constitution provided for a much stronger national government with a chief executive (the President), courts, and taxing powers.
3 Amendments – Living Document
The US Constitution can be changed through the amendment process. Constitutional amendments are added to it, altering its effect. Changing the “fundamental law” is a two-part process: amendments are proposed then they must be ratified by the states. The Constitution has been amended 17 additional times (for a total of 27 amendments).
4 Bill of Rights – Immediately Proposed
The first ten amendments, ratified by 3/4 of the states in 1791, are known as the Bill of Rights. These 10 Amendments, limitations to protect the natural rights of liberty/property, were proposed almost immediately after the Constitution was ratified (adopted by the First Congress in August 21, 1789), recognizing an important fact that the public (average man) may have to be gradually conditioned to acknowledge and accept the rights of other people in a progressive society.
5 Values -vs- Verbiage
The US Constitution was written, followed by its amendments, to use broad language – a model for the CU – so that the principles primarily can be applied in statues for everyday laws. This indicates that constitutions should be strategic, depicting the values and vision of a society, while the legislative products (statues) should be tactical and specific.
6 US Court Interpretations ==> Model for CU
7 Ratifying – High Burden
8 Repeal and Secession
9 Slavery!
10 International Treaties

The Caribbean must foster a better society that mitigates the tyranny of religious orthodoxy. We can benefit from the American example of how they weeded out uncanny religious influences; they made a constitutional provision – First Amendment to the United States Constitution – that separated religious influences from federal governance (and later adopted for state governments):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[93]

The Go Lean roadmap calls for Freedom of Religion,  Freedom of Press and Freedom of Assembly, but we can do better than the American experience:

  • Freedom of Religion – Despite the 1789 start, America didn’t show respect for the “non-Christian” faiths of its indigenous people until the 1960’s. The Go Lean roadmap calls for respect of all people in all 30 member-states and respect for all of their religious devotions: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others including Indigenous or Animists.
  • Freedom of Press – Fake News is a modern pang of distress; the Social Contract must allow for a quest for truth and protection against erroneous information. We can do better!.
  • Freedom of Assembly – The actuality of Self-Governing Entities may allow for a declaration of Private Property. This would differ from the American standard in that economic interest can be shielded from demanding local governance.

We hereby urge all Caribbean stakeholders – governments and citizens – to lean-in to this comprehensive Go Lean roadmap to elevate Caribbean society. Our Caribbean can be even better than America as a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxxiii. Whereas lessons can be learned and applied from the study of the recent history of other societies, the Federation must formalize statutes and organizational dimensions to avoid the pitfalls of [failed communities] … . On the other hand, the Federation must also implement the good examples learned from developments like … the tenants of the US Constitution.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – The Newsroom – America is not the greatest country in the world anymore…(Restricted language)  –

Published on Jul 21, 2012 – Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) hits the nail straight on the head in the opening minutes on HBO’s new series ‘The Newsroom’. He is asked by a college student a simple question during a campus debate. ‘What makes America the greatest country in the world?’. Daniels initially goes the politically correct route then at the last minute goes with a honest, bold, straight forward answer that sums up a lot of the world’s problems that so many are afraid to accept because we all want to believe in our system and that it is our system that works. The evidence that is out there today is to the contrary and he discloses such information in his argument. We used to be the world’s best of the best and now we are just pretending. The first step to solving a problem is to admit there is one.

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