Better Than … the ‘Bill of Rights’ – Fifth & Sixth Amendments

Go Lean Commentary

“Plead the Fifth!”

We all know what that means: an arrested person elects to remain silent so as not to incriminate himself.

This is the public perception of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution – the Bill of Rights. This legal premise is quite ingenious – it is the mark of freedom. It would be tyranny for entities of the State to force people to testify … against themselves. The fact of the matter though is that the US is not the only country with these protections; consider this reference:

Whether arising from their constitutions, common law, or statute, many nations recognize a defendant’s right to silence.[124] Those rights may be considerably more limited than those available to U.S. criminal defendants under the Miranda ruling.[125]

So many countries allow a suspect to “Plead the Fifth”, without some of the compromises to justice when there is some failure with the perfect delivery of Criminal Proceedings by police officials. How do other countries manage it?

Some better …
Some worse…

There is an opportunity for a new Caribbean administration to do better than the American experience of “Pleading the Fifth” and still not jeopardize justice.

Can we have both?
Can we just have sanctions against the offending police personnel rather than setting a guilty person free … in the interest of justice?

Yes, we can …

It is conceivable, believable and achievable to maintain laws for Criminal Procedures and not compromise the interest of justice. Demanding justice does not mean allowing tyranny; but it is not black-or-white; there are shades of grey. This is why legal systems employ Judges, to make those case-by-case decisions.

This introduction allows us to define the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the US Constitution – subsets of the Bill of Rights, as follows:

Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[93]

The Fifth Amendment protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination and guarantees the rights to due processgrand jury screening of criminal indictments, and compensation for the seizure of private property under eminent domain. The amendment was the basis for the court’s decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966), which established that defendants must be informed of their rights to an attorney and against self-incrimination prior to interrogation by police.[109]

Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.[93]

The Sixth Amendment establishes a number of rights of the defendant in a criminal trial:

In Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the Court ruled that the amendment guaranteed the right to legal representation in all felony prosecutions in both state and federal courts.[110]
Source: Retrieved November 24, 2019 from

As a result of these two Amendments, the wording of the Miranda Warning emerged (after 1963):

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.

See Appendix VIDEO below for a fuller definition. This is why this commentary considers these two amendments in tandem.

As related, Constitutional Law scholars refer to these two amendments as Criminal Proceedings provisions. These are not Rocket Science or Brain Surgery; the cause for justice should not be this complicated.

Planners for a new Caribbean governance must also consider these Criminal Proceedings provisions from the onset (accession) of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). These provisions should be embedded in the initial confederation treaty – and then codified in the subsequent Constitution.

This is the continuation – 4 of 6 – of the November 2019 series from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean. We publish this series as a supplement to the 2013 book, to support the thesis that we, in the Caribbean, can be Better Than America, in words (law) and in action. The full catalog of this series on the Bill of Rights 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 – Remember, Justice First
  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

As this series refers to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines – economics, security and governance – of the 30 Caribbean member-states, this entry focuses more on the need for security and justice optimizations. People are more inclined to abandon their homeland due to public safety deficiencies. This is why we must consider the actuality of the American Criminal Justice system as a competitive assessment. We want to compete better with America.

The Go Lean book provides 370 pages of roadmap details to prioritize security needs along with economics ones. This is a Big Idea for the Caribbean to reform and transform its societal engines. This requires adopting new community ethos (attitudes and values), plus the executions of new strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to better secure our homeland. We can better remediate and mitigate crime in the region as a result. This is the actual title of one advocacy in the Go Lean book. Consider the specific plans, excerpts and headlines here from Page 178, entitled:

10 Ways to Remediate and Mitigate Crime

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market This will allow for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people across 30 member-states, thereby creating an economic zone to promote and protect the interest of the member-states. (The GDP of the region will amount to $800 Billion according to 2010 figures). In addition, the treaty calls for a collective security agreement of the Caribbean nations so as to implement provisions to serve and protect the citizenry against systemic threats. The CU’s law enforcement agencies will enforce, investigate and prosecute economic crimes, including Racketeering, and Organized Crime Enterprises (RECO), plus any cross border gang activity. In addition, the CU will also provide funding, grants, training, technical consultancy, and support services for member-states law enforcement, including crime labs.
2 Deploy the Caribbean Police (CariPol)

The CU Treaty will compel local police to have accountability and respect for the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Police. CariPol will be modeled after Interpol and the US FBI, with Inspectors for investigations and Marshalls for protection and interdiction. When the local Police call for escalation, CariPol responds. CariPol also “polices” the Police, with audit and compliance oversight for “use of force” reviews and Internal Affairs. The appeal to engage CariPol does not have to come from local police, but rather any constitutional institution (i.e. state governments, courts, or legislative bodies).

3 Regional Security Intelligence Bureau

The CU law enforcement apparatus will deploy sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis systems, processes and personnel. This includes terrestrial and satellite surveillance (CATV, ankle monitoring) systems, eavesdropping, data mining and predictive modeling. Local and regional Police institutions would have access to these findings and results. The CU’s intelligence agency will also monitor police actions for public integrity assurance (corruption threats).

4 Prison Industrial Complex
5 Equip local police with advanced technologies
6 Witness Protection

The CU will administer Witness Security (WitSec) for trustees before and after trials. There should be no safety consequences for doing the right thing. But since most of the “homelands” are islands, there is the need to relocate witness to other parts of the region. A regional solution far exceeds any state-wide attempts.

7 Enable the Private Industry of First Responders and Bounty Hunters
8 Hate Crime Qualifiers
9 Youth Crime Awareness and Prevention
10 Death Penalty Reform Change to Lethal Injection – this lowers the objections and vigorous criminal defense strategies. Resulting in more

frequent executions; (this is the model of the State of Texas in the US). Death Row must not resemble “life in prison”.

People have left their beloved Caribbean homes – societal abandonment – over the issue of public safety – crime and the proper response. This threat is also cited as a Failed-State indicator. So we must reduce crime … at all cost. This is a mandate of the Go Lean movement, to do “whatever it takes” to lower the Push and Pull factors that cause people to abandon our Caribbean homeland. We want them to “prosper where we are planted” here.

There have been a number of blog-commentaries by the Go Lean movement over the years that highlighted the approaches to remediate and mitigate crime; see a sample list here; (though the list is exhaustive, it is still only a sample; crime abatement has been a priority focus for more than 5 years of this commentary): Unequal Justice: Lessons Learned from the American Sheriffs Eco-system Home Violence leads to Street Violence Repairing the Breach: Crime – Need, Greed, Justice & Honor Future Focused – Policing the Police The Requirement for Better Security – ‘Must Love Dogs’ Accede the Caribbean Arrest Treaty Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Bullying in Schools See Something, Say Something … Do Something Securing the Homeland – On the Ground A Lesson in the History of Interpersonal Violence – Domestic Crime Specialist Urging: ‘Change Leaders in Crime Fight’ Ten Puerto Rico Police Accused of Organized Criminal Network Protecting Tourists from Electronic (ICT) Crimes China Internet Policing – Lessons/Model for the Caribbean 8th Violent Crime Warning to Bahamas Tourists – We must improve! Mitigating the Eventual ‘Abuse of Power’ Crime Surveillance Videos/Photos – Gleaning benefits Improving the Crime-fighting Eco-system – Better 911 Systems Role Model for Justice – The Pinkertons The Criminalization of American Business – Lessons Learned Health-care fraud in America; criminals take $272 billion a year Jamaica to receive World Bank funds to help in crime fight

As previously related, the American Bill of Rights was designed to be embedded in the country’s legal foundation in such a way so as to prevent subsequent majorities from violating the rights of minorities. While this is good, it is also near-impossible to change the Constitution. We can do better in our Caribbean homeland than the American destinations. We have always maintained that we can more easily reform our homeland than some foreign country. There is no Bill of Rights for us – we have no excuse not to change and improve!

Yes, we can be Better Than America; we can do better than the Bill of Rights. We can be safer, yet still just; we can ensure justice without allowing tyranny. This is the heavy-lifting that we must commit to. We urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to this roadmap to make our homeland 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 – 13):

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices of criminology and penology to assuage continuous threats against public safety. The Federation must allow for facilitations of detention for convicted felons of federal crimes, and should over-build prisons to house trustees from other jurisdictions.

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.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

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.

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


APPENDIX C VIDEO – Due Process of Law: Crash Course Government and Politics #28 –  

CrashCourse Published Aug 21, 2015 – This week Craig is going to continue our discussion of due process. Technically, we started last week with the 4th Amendment and Search and Seizure, but this week we’re going to look at the 5th and 6th Amendments and how they ensure a fair trial. We’ll talk about some stuff you tend to hear a lot on TV, like your right to an attorney and a jury of your peers and also terms like “double jeopardy” and “pleading the Fifth”. Now, this stuff can get pretty complicated, which is where lawyers come in handy, but it’s important to know your liberties to keep the police and other judicial officers in check.

Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

Support is provided by Voqal:

All attributed images are licensed under Creative Commons by Attribution 2.0

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