Batts's historic innings
The cover of Justice David Batts's booka

Dear Editor,

Sometimes we experience strange coincidences.

I had been in discussions with Justice David Batts about the book The Law and Constitution for Every Jamaican before it was published. He told me he expected me to buy one "hot off" the press.

Before I speak on the book, however, permit me a brief critique. It appears that local bookshops have problems selling local books. There needs to be a meeting between publishers and book sellers in Jamaica to create new paths to address this problem. I failed to get a copy in Kingston after its publication. While I was on holiday last week, I went into a bookshop in the city of Montego Bay, Bayview specifically, and saw one copy of the book; it was as if it was waiting for me. I bought it right away and informed the author.

I got the book on a Thursday evening and by breakfast time the following morning I completed the reading and made a thorough examination of the references. Friday, I called the author again to give him my abbreviated review of the book, and by very early Sunday, I could not wait to call him. I said, "Justice, the Sunday Observer has a one page on your book and the editorial of the paper is on your book." I was just as elated as the author.

Justice David Battsa

I really hope we can pull off a Jamaican renaissance rooted in the articulation of literature and the arts. This book might just be a call for justice in local literature. I must express profound gratitude and thankfulness to the Observer for sharing this landmark writing in the editorial 'A commendable public service by Justice Batts' and an extensive and useful review titled 'Justice Batts's remarkable feat', both published on May 21.

According to the Observer's subhead, 'Supreme Court judge scores with book explaining, in simple language, Jamaican law and the constitution'. I agree about the style of writing. I bought it Thursday afternoon, after a long wait to see it on the shelf of a bookshop, and by Friday morning I completed the reading. It will reach out to many Jamaicans and I think the publisher and author should think of using the same language for an audio book to reach many more Jamaican youth and adults. This effort by Justice Batts may very well be a turning point in the literary society.

On the back cover of the book is useful information about Justice Batts's rural, educational, and family life. I say this because Justice Batts, a most elevated Jamaican, never left his roots and traditional values. Coupled with his family and rural values, he was also driven by his experiences and observations arising out of his work in the private legal sphere and the public space – the court, the house of justice.

This context is important because it explains why he wrote the book using language that the masses, both youth and adults alike, can understand with ease.

In 1962 there was no constitutional moment, that is, an observed enthusiasm in the public that called for participation in constitution-building. This is not about being in the Constitutional Reform Committee's meeting room, it is about detecting a sense of spiritedness coming from the population. I hope that The Law and Constitution for Every Jamaican will help to create this well-needed constitutional moment.

I call on Jamaicans to begin supporting Jamaica writers. This book is a must-read for fifth and sixth formers in our high schools. I hope that branches of public libraries across the country will have adequate copies for members of the public to read. And the Diaspora must not be left out of this campaign, especially the old students' associations. These groups can help their alma maters to ensure students have access to this book.

Justice has been served in The Law and Constitution for Every Jamaican.

Louis E A Moyston

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