The handling of the four unfortunates raises issues and settles matters. I know where I stand, and why I stand there.

First, the four Uighurs. Accept them. Settle them. Give them a decent chance at a new start. They are human beings who were being ground like mince (for Americans - that's hamburger meat) in a clash between an out-of-control Superpower; an autocratic major power that didn't shrink from gunning down hundreds of its own people; and their own thirst for freedom in and for their native country of Uighurstan. They do not deserve any further persecution.

My issues are the inextricably intertwined local and national issues. Three things have happened. One: As Premier and thus the representative for all Bermuda and all Bermudians, he chose not to consult with any Bermudians in an action that affects all Bermudians. Two: The Premier acted without using the government processes specifically designed and intended to ensure and maintain the rule of law. Three: The properly elected Premier of this country acted outside his constitutional authority.

Whether it is liked or not, the Bermuda Constitutional Order, 1968 [BCO 1968] is Bermuda's Constitution. As such, it defines where power resides, and in whose hands those powers reside. Under BCO 1968, power and responsibilities are clearly set out.

In originating and then arriving at a final arrangement with a foreign power without properly involving the U.K. authorities - as is required by BCO 1968, the Premier acted beyond and outside his constitutional authority. He acted outside the law. In principle and in detail, this action is the same as that of any other person acting beyond and outside the law - the Court Street gunman, for example.

Premier's not above the law

Bermuda law is law for all. Politicians are not above Bermuda law.

The Premier is the 'premier minister' of Cabinet. Cabinet is the small group selected from the 36 elected members of the House of Assembly. Under the Westminster system, they are actually from the political party that holds the majority of the seats.

Cabinet is the distilled essence of Parliament. Cabinet handles the day-to-day running of the country. Cabinet makes the 'administrative policy' that is then implemented by the Civil Service.

Cabinet draws its power from Parliament and Parliament draws its power from the people. This is the clearly defined chain of power and accountability.

When the premier minister of Cabinet makes decisions and takes actions, he does so on behalf of Cabinet - thus all of the elected Members of Parliament - thus all of the people of Bermuda. When acting and making decisions, the premier minister of Cabinet may well act stupidly, foolishly, ignorantly, or unwisely. That - in fact - is possible with every person.

However, a minister of Cabinet is expected to know the law (or seek and take advice); act within the law (after taking advice); implement lawful law (after taking advice); and always uphold - not breach - any law or laws. Lastly, he is expected to act in the best interests of the people - all the people - of Bermuda. All ministers of Cabinet take oaths that affirm that this is what they will do.

In this matter, the premier minister of Cabinet has acted outside the law. He did so under circumstances where he should have sought administrative advice. He took final action without informing his fellow ministers of Cabinet prior to his making the final arrangements that he did make.

This premier minister of Cabinet treated Cabinet as though Cabinet was a cluster of neutered pussycats whose only function, under his tenure, is to meow and mew. Or purr in adulation.